Mike Babcock will not continue as head coach of Columbus. The club’s GM Jarmo Kekäläinen commented in the press release that the decision was difficult, but necessary.
Head coach of the NHL club Columbus Blue Jackets Mike Babcock’s had to leave his position. The club informed about it late Sunday evening Finnish time.
Assistant coach Pascal Vincent replaces Babcock as head coach. Vincent’s contract is for two years.
The club said in a press release that the decision to leave Babcock was made in agreement with the experienced coach.
– This was a difficult decision for everyone, but we felt it necessary to make sure that we focus on the players and the team’s upcoming season, the club’s GM Jarmo Kekäläinen said in the release.
The first Finnish club boss in NHL history also thanked Babcock for the work the coach did for the club and for his professionalism during the resignation process.
The Canadian coach found himself in the middle of an uproar when information began to spread in the American media that Babcock had asked several Blue Jackets players for their phones and showed their pictures in the NHL coach’s office.
Allegedly, Babcock demanded to see the photos on Columbus players’ phones in order to get to know them better. Later, however, both Babcock and Columbus’ captain Boone Jenner denied the phone episode in their official statements.
After the allegations became public, the NHL players’ association began to investigate the case.
Babcock himself briefly commented on his departure in the press release.
– After careful consideration, it has become clear that continuing as head coach would be too much of a distraction for the team.
– While I’m disappointed that we can’t continue the work we started, I know that this is the right solution for the club and me. I wish everyone in the organization the best for the upcoming season, Babcock stated in the press release.
The 60-year-old Babcock was fired from the traditional club Toronto Maple Leafs in 2019. His coaching methods were criticized as old-fashioned. In addition, he caused an uproar when he allegedly asked out Toronto’s star player From Mitch Marner list of team players based on work ethic.
Columbus dismissed Babcock’s predecessor by Brad Larsen of the head coach duties on April 15. The team finished last in the series last season. Babcock’s hiring garnered widespread attention because of the coach’s colorful history.
Babcock was one of the most respected coaches in the world at the turn of the 2010s. He won the Stanley Cup in 2008 at the helm of Detroit and led Canada to the Olympic Games in 2010 and 2014.