Mike Babcock Resigns as Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach

Mike Babcock has resigned as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, pending an official announcement from the club.

After being hired on July 1st, 2023, by Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, Babcock would last just over two months in his latest NHL stint.

Mike Babcock would be put on blast by the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast hosted by former NHL players Paul Bissonette and Ryan Whitney. Bissonette would take the lead and let the world know on September 12th that Mike Babcock is back to his old ways. Bissonette mentioned that Babcock had been making players show personal photos on his office TV, which is certainly an invasion of privacy.

While this isn’t a surprise to anyone following the gravity of the situation, Mike Babcock didn’t make training camp as head coach of the team.

The Situation At Hand

Later on that day, Aaron Portzline was quick to note that the Columbus Blue Jackets were made aware of the allegations and are looking into them. Mike Babcock and Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner made statements later on in the day, which were followed by the NHL/NHLPA opening an investigation on September 15th.

Just days before training camp opened, reputable NHL insiders Frank Seravalli and Elliotte Friedman were quick to report that Mike Babcock was stepping down. The NHL/NHLPA concluded their investigation on the afternoon of Sunday, September 17th, leaving no path for Mike Babcock to continue as coach. Even after that, it took a bit longer till the Columbus Blue Jackets officially announced that Mike Babcock had stepped down as head coach.

What To Takeaway From This

After a ton of back and forth with the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast crew, a few things became clear.

  1. Spittin’ Chiclets has established itself as a player’s podcast. Gaining more trust from players and having reputable sources that will speak to them about what they hear further establishes their credibility.
  2. After his last ugly exit as an NHL coach, Mike Babcock didn’t learn from his previous ways.
  3. The NHL/NHLPA is sending a powerful message regarding the treatment of players in the future.
  4. There was more than what we know at the surface level, causing Babcock to resign as head coach.

Mike Babcock also released a statement following his departure as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“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 dissapointed 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 organizaiton well in the upcoming season.”

Mike Babcock – Statement after stepping down as head coach – Sept. 17th, 2023.

After Babcock stepped down, the Columbus Blue Jackets immediately named Pascal Vincent the new head coach of the team. While the NHL/NHLPA was initially satisfied with the original statements and interviews with players. However, the track was reversed slightly when some of the team’s younger players were uncomfortable with Babcock’s antics.

Final Thoughts

Simply, this could’ve been avoided if Kekalainen simply didn’t hire Babcock. However, the Blue Jackets were obviously comfortable in hoping that Babcock had grown past his previous antics. This situation shows that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

The NHL/NHLPA showed that they are quick to take player’s concerns seriously and won’t settle until they have done a thorough investigation. While this isn’t a firing, this is a mutual decision after discussions with management that Babcock would step down days before training camp. The NHL/NHLPA also made it clear in their decision that there was no path for Babcock to continue as an NHL Head Coach.

This situation became a little more serious after NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh and assistant executive director Ron Hainsey flew to Columbus on Thursday. The lengthy meeting was described as intense, and it became a part of the regularly scheduled NHL/NHLPA meeting agenda on Friday. The NHL/NHLPA went as far as to reach out to some of Babcock’s former players in Toronto as part of the investigation.

“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. 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.”

Jarmo Kekalainen, Columbus Blue Jackets general manager – In the news release – Sept. 17th, 2023.

Controversy was all over this decision to hire Mike Babcock as an NHL Head Coach again, and it was only a matter of time before something came out about his antics. It is only a matter of time before the Blue Jackets core group looks to revitalize a good portion of their management team after another blunder in the head coaching position.

After all of this has played out, the Blue Jackets have appointed associate coach Pascal Vincent as head coach, agreeing to a two-year contract through the 2024-25 season. We will see where the remainder of the situation goes for the Blue Jackets organization and Mike Babcock’s coaching career.

221. Don Waddell + Connor CBJectively Speaking

On this episode, we discuss the Blue Jackets hiring of Don Waddell as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager, identify his most important order of business this summer, and discuss the Stanley Cup Final.Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Thread, and Twitter: @CBJectivelyPodCheck us out on Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube: CBJectively SpeakingRate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen!Check out our website: www.cbjectivelyspeaking.comCheck out our merchandise: www.cbjectivelymerch.comJeremy's Stories: https://insidetherink.com/author/jpaul/Laura's Stories: https://insidetherink.com/author/lnorman/
  1. 221. Don Waddell + Connor
  2. 220. All Things Playoffs
  3. 219. And I'm Laura!
  4. 218. Two Thorns, No Rose
  5. 217. Jeff Rimer, The G.O.A.T.

Conrad Jack

Conrad Jack is a lifelong hockey fan who is now actively writing for Inside The Rink covering primarily the Winnipeg Jets and the entire NHL second. He also covers the latest NHL News & Rumors, the NHL Entry Draft, and so much more for Inside The Rink.

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