After several years away from coaching in the NHL, Mike Babcock is back this season with the Columbus Blue Jackets and the controversial coach is already making headlines.
Babcock hasn’t coached in the NHL since 2019 when he was fired by the Leafs, the first time in his career he’d been fired, but Coach Babcock has always been surrounded by odd news from players.
He’s been criticized in the past for his treatment of players. Chris Chelios spoke out on Babcock’s treatment of NHL veterans. He’s also been criticized by Johan Franzén and Mike Commodore.
Now on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast, a new controversy is bubbling up. It pertains to how he’s allegedly prying into player’s private lives by demanding to see their phones and then AirPlaying those photos on a TV inside his office.
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
Aaron Portzline, an NHL reporter with The Athletic, responded to the news above saying he’s been told the NHL Player’s Association is now looking into the conduct alleged of Mike Babcock.
Told that the NHL players’ association is looking into the Babcock allegations as put forth by the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast.
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) September 12, 2023
UPDATE: Columbus Blue Jackets Release Statement On Mike Babcock
After the Spittin’ Chiclets story above went viral, the Columbus Blue Jackets released the following statement:
Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach Mike Babcock and center Boone Jenner have released the following statement:
— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) September 12, 2023
Essentially, Babcock and the team maintain it was only used to get to know the players better. Calling it a ‘gross misrepresentation’ of how it was portrayed on Spittin’ Chiclets.
Mike Babcock has yet to coach a single game with the Columbus Blue Jackets since being hired back in July. He hasn’t coached in the NHL since 2019. It remains to be seen what, if anything, will come out of an alleged look into the recent behavior. But it sure is an interesting start to his triumphant return to the NHL.
Stream the full 4-hour episode of Spittin Chiclets: