Blue Jackets say they ‘got it wrong’ in hiring Mike Babcock

Greg Wyshynski, ESPNSep 18, 2023, 02:30 PM ET

CloseGreg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.

Columbus Blue Jackets management admitted it made a mistake in hiring former head coach Mike Babcock, apologizing privately to players and publicly to critics.

Babcock resigned from the Blue Jackets over the weekend — days before the start of training camp — after an NHLPA investigation into claims that he violated players’ privacy when he asked to see photos on their cellphones. He had been hired in July.

“We went through a process earlier this summer prior to hiring Mike Babcock as our head coach, but we got it wrong and that’s on us,” team president John Davidson said Monday at a news conference to introduce Pascal Vincent as the team’s new head coach.

Vincent had previously been the associate head coach.

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The NHLPA interviewed players in Columbus on Thursday about Babcock’s behavior. Executive director Marty Walsh met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Friday and shared his findings. They both reached out to the Blue Jackets later that day.

“They were very transparent with the information we received. In talking with Mike Babcock, we decided there was no going back,” Davidson said. “The resignation went forward from that point on.”

Babcock was on the first year of a two-year contract. The team declined to share details of his contract settlement.

General manager Jarmo Kekalainen spoke with the players Monday morning and apologized for “any inconvenience or awkward situations” Babcock’s hiring might have created.

Kekalainen also said Babcock had asked to see photos on his cellphone.

“That was his way of introducing his family [and] having me introduce my family to him,” Kekalainen said. “Personally, I had no problem with it, but I can understand that it could put somebody in an uncomfortable and awkward situation.”

Davidson refused to get into specifics about what the NHL and the NHLPA revealed regarding Babcock’s interactions with players that led to…

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Author : Greg Wyshynski

Publish date : 2023-09-18 20:49:44

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