Mike Babcock resigns from Blue Jackets before even coaching a game

Sep 17 2023, 7:52 pm

It seems like the Toronto Maple Leafs might actually have been Mike Babcock’s last stop in the NHL.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Babcock is expected to resign as the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets following allegations that surfaced last week on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast about the former Leafs coach asking his players to look at their personal photos on their phone during introductory meetings with his new team.

The team later confirmed the news, naming Pascal Vincent as his replacement.

“I get a text from a player. He goes, ‘Have you heard what Babcock is up to again?’ And I’m like, ‘No,'” former NHLer Paul Bissonnette told his co-host, Ryan Whitney, on a recent episode of the popular show. “He gets to Columbus; he calls in Boone Jenner, the captain of the f***ing team, and says, ‘I want to see the photos in your phone. I wanna know the type of person you are.'”

Babcock was hired as the head coach of the Blue Jackets in July and had yet to coach a game with the team.

“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,” said Babcock in a 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.”

The Jackets were set to be Babcock’s most recent foray into the NHL, four years after being fired by the Leafs in November 2019. The 60-year-old coached the University of Saskatchewan men’s hockey team for one season in 2021-22 but had been away from employment in the NHL until his contract with Toronto officially ran out this past spring.

Babcock, who has coached for the Leafs, Red Wings, and Anaheim Ducks in his career, has an NHL record of 700-418-19-164 while winning Olympic gold medals in 2010 and 2014 with Canada.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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