The NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA) is said to be looking into accusations made against Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Mike Babcock, alleging that he breached a player’s privacy. This information was initially disclosed by Aaron Portzline of The Athletic.
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Mike Babcock has allegedly been asking various Blue Jackets to see their phones then AirPlaying their photos on his office TV.
— Spittin' Chiclets (@spittinchiclets) September 12, 2023
Paul Bissonnette, a host of Barstool’s Spittin’ Chiclets podcast, claimed that Columbus Blue Jackets’ captain Boone Jenner had a meeting with coach Mike Babcock. During this meeting, Babcock allegedly requested to see photos on Jenner’s phone and then used AirPlay to display those photos on his office television. Aaron Portzline reported that the Blue Jackets were aware of this situation, and Bissonnette reaffirmed that the allegations against Babcock are entirely true.
Should these allegations be substantiated, it would underscore a recurring pattern of abusive conduct by Babcock. In his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, it came to light that Babcock had compelled Mitch Marner to evaluate his teammates’ work ethic. Subsequently, Babcock disclosed the list to the entire team against Marner’s wishes.
Furthermore, he benched a healthy Mike Modano in the last game of Modano’s career, preventing him from reaching the milestone of 1,500 games played. In addition, during Jason Spezza’s debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs against his former team, the Ottawa Senators, he was also left out of the lineup. Johan Franzen, a prominent player for the Detroit Red Wings during Babcock’s coaching tenure, described Babcock as the most unpleasant individual he has ever encountered, alleging that Babcock subjected him to verbal abuse.
However, both Boone Jenner and Mike Babcock have denied the allegations. “While meeting with our players and staff I asked them to share, off their phones, family pictures as part of the process of getting to know them better,” Babcock said in the statement. “There was absolutely nothing more to it than that. The way this was portrayed on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast was a gross misrepresentation of those meetings and extremely offensive. These meetings have been very important and beneficial, not only for me but for our players and staff as well, and to have them depicted like this is irresponsible and completely inaccurate.”
Boone Jenner noted, “While meeting with Babs he asked me about my family and where I’m from, my upcoming wedding and hockey-related stuff. He then asked if I had pictures of my family and I was happy to share some with him. He showed me pictures of his family. I thought it was a great first meeting and good way for us to start to build a relationship. To have this blown out of proportion is truly disappointing.”
Meanwhile, the Columbus Blue Jackets will be resuming training on September 21st.