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Columbus’ Mike Babcock Resigns Over Bizarre Photos Incident

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The most stunning, and yet not surprising, story happened Sunday when Columbus Blue Jackets coach Mike Babcock resigned before ever spending a day behind the team’s bench.

This bizarre story has developed the past few days. Babcock reportedly asked players to show him photos on their phones so he could get to know the players better.

Former NHL player Paul Bissonnette said on the “Spittin’ Chiclets” podcast that he was told by an unidentified player that Babcock asked Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner to show him photos.

Bissonnette, also an analyst for TNT, said he was told that Babcock told Jenner: “Let me see the photos in your phone. I want to know the type of person you are.”

Babcock initially denied the allegations. Jenner described a “great first meeting” with Babcock that included sharing family photos with each other.

The NHLPA investigated and reported its findings to the NHL on Friday.

“This was a difficult decision on everyone’s part, but one we felt necessary to ensure our focus remains on the players and the team’s upcoming season,” Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. 

“On behalf of the entire Blue Jackets organization, we want to thank Mike for his hard work and the professionalism he has shown in working together on a plan to step down.”

Babcock’s Statement

Babcock, who was hired July 1 in Columbus, also released a statement: “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.

“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.”

Babcock won a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2008 and coached Canada to Winter Olympics gold medals in 2010 and 2014. He was fired as coach of the Maple Leafs in 2019. Babcock was 700-418-164 (19 ties) in 17 seasons with the Ducks, Red Wings and Maple Leafs.

The Blue Jackets named Pascal Vincent as their head coach. The Flyers open the 2023-24 season on Oct. 12 at Columbus.

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