Mike Babcock resigns as head coach of Blue Jackets amid investigation into alleged privacy invasion
Mike Babcock resigned as coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday after just two months on the job, following word earlier this week of him asking players to show him photos on their phones.
The team announced Babcock's shocking departure in the aftermath of an investigation by the NHL Players' Association into his conduct. Associate coach Pascal Vincent was named Babcock's replacement and signed a two-year contract through the 2024-25 season.
Ex-NHLer Paul Bissonnette said on the "Spittin' Chiclets" podcast he was told by an unidentified player that the veteran coach asked players during one-on-one meetings to see photos on their phones and would then stream them on his television.
The NHLPA said on Thursday that its executive director and assistant executive director were in Columbus, Ohio, to investigate the reports. Marty Walsh and Ron Hainsey were meeting with some Blue Jackets players as part of the investigation.
The union updated the league Friday on its findings.
In a statement released Sunday, the Blue Jackets said Babcock's resignation was a mutual decision between the team and coach.
"Upon reflection, it has become clear that continuing as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets was going to be too much of a distraction," Babcock said in statement. "While I'm disappointed to not have had the opportunity to continue the work we've begun, I know it's in the best interest of the organization for me to step away at this time. I wish everyone in the organization well in the upcoming season."
Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said the move was necessary "to ensure our focus remains on the players and the team's upcoming season."
Babcock, the 2008 Stanley Cup-winning coach with Detroit, said upon