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Mike Babcock resigns as Columbus Blue Jackets coach amid investigation involving gamers’ images

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Mike Babcock, the coach with a Stanley Cup championship and two Olympic gold medals on his resume, has misplaced his final two jobs within the NHL.

Final time, it was for shedding too many video games. This time, it was for his interactions with gamers that adopted a disturbing sample of previous conduct.

Babcock resigned as coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday after simply two months on the job, lower than per week after his requests for private images from gamers in a bonding effort drew criticism as too invasive.

The group introduced Babcock’s abrupt departure within the aftermath of an investigation by the NHL Gamers’ Affiliation into his conduct. Pascal Vincent was named Babcock’s alternative and signed a two-year contract by the 2024-25 season.

“Our gamers need to be handled with respect within the office,” NHLPA govt director Marty Walsh mentioned. “Sadly, that was not the case in Columbus. The membership’s choice to maneuver ahead with a brand new head coach is the suitable plan of action.”

Former NHL participant Paul Bissonnette reported on his podcast Tuesday that Babcock was asking gamers to indicate him images and projecting them for others to see in an invasion of privateness. Babcock and captain Boone Jenner denied the report, saying it was only a means of the brand new coach attending to know gamers.

Nonetheless, the gamers union launched a evaluation and up to date the league Friday on its findings.

“This was a troublesome choice on everybody’s half, however one we felt mandatory to make sure our focus stays on the gamers and the group’s upcoming season,” common supervisor Jarmo Kekalainen mentioned in an announcement. “On behalf of all the Blue Jackets group, we need to thank Mike for his arduous work and the professionalism he has proven in working collectively on a plan to step down.”

Babcock’s conduct was beneath the microscope given his historical past of polarizing, old-school teaching methods, a lot of which got here to gentle after he was fired by Toronto in 2019. This was his first NHL job since.

“Upon reflection, it has develop into clear that persevering with as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets was going to be an excessive amount of of a distraction,” Babcock mentioned. “Whereas I’m upset to not have had the chance to proceed the work we’ve begun, I do know it’s in the most effective curiosity of the group for me to step away presently. I want everybody within the group properly within the upcoming season.”

Babcock, the 2008 Stanley Cup-winning coach with Detroit, mentioned upon taking the Columbus job in July that he advanced as a coach and realized how higher to take care of gamers following his firing by Toronto.

A report surfaced after the Maple Leafs fired Babcock that he had requested a participant to share his rating of teammates from hardest- to least-hardest working after which shared that with the remainder of the group. Different former gamers expressed their dissatisfaction with Babcock, who at one level was thought of the most effective coach in hockey.

As an alternative, Babcock’s time within the NHL is likely to be over, and with it comes questions on Kekalainen’s future in Columbus.

Babcock was the third coach Kekalainen has employed since taking up in February 2013. The Blue Jackets have missed the playoffs every of the previous three seasons.

Vincent, who turns 52 later this month, was one of many candidates for the job when Babcock bought it. He was an assistant on former coach Brad Larsen’s workers the earlier two seasons after 4 years as coach of the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose.

Kekalainen referred to as Vincent an impressive coach who “is aware of our gamers and group and is revered by everybody right here.”

“He was a robust candidate for our head teaching place a number of months in the past and is in the most effective place to assist us navigate this alteration as we start camp and lead our group shifting ahead,” Kekalainen mentioned.

Vincent mentioned it was a troublesome day however that he was wanting ahead to the chance.

“We now have a fantastic group of fellows which were working very arduous to organize for the season,” he mentioned. “My focus will probably be to work with our workers to assist them get higher day-after-day and be prepared for what we imagine will probably be an thrilling season.”


AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

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