The Columbus Blue Jackets have issued a public apology for the hiring of former head coach Mike Babcock, admitting that it was a “major misstep” for the organization. Babcock resigned from his position just days before the start of training camp, following an NHLPA investigation into claims that he violated players’ privacy by asking to see photos on their cellphones.
John Davidson, the Blue Jackets’ president of hockey operations, expressed regret over the situation, stating, “I know this is a major misstep that we have to move past.” General manager Jarmo Kekalainen also apologized to the team and took responsibility for the hiring decision. The Blue Jackets ownership group announced that they do not expect to make any further changes to the organization’s leadership.
Babcock’s conduct was under scrutiny due to his history of polarizing, old-school coaching techniques, many of which came to light after he was fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2019. This was his first NHL job since then.
In the wake of Babcock’s resignation, the Blue Jackets have introduced Pascal Vincent as their new head coach. Vincent, 52, was an assistant under the previous head coach and has been with the organization since 2016. The team hopes to move forward and focus on preparing for the upcoming season.
The controversy surrounding Babcock’s hiring and subsequent resignation has raised questions about the due diligence process in the NHL. Despite the organization’s thorough vetting process, Kekalainen admitted that they made a mistake in believing that Babcock deserved another opportunity to coach. The Blue Jackets’ management has pledged to learn from this situation and support their coaches and players moving forward.
Vincent, who has an extensive coaching background, including a stint as head coach for the AHL’s Manitoba Moose and 12 seasons as a head coach in the QMJHL, is expected to bring a fresh perspective to the team. With the support of the organization and a focus on work ethic and communication, the Blue Jackets hope to put the Babcock era behind them and move forward with a renewed sense of purpose.
As the team prepares for the upcoming season, fans and players alike will be watching closely to see how Vincent’s leadership and coaching style impact the Blue Jackets’ performance on the ice. With a commitment to learning from past mistakes and supporting their coaches and players, the organization aims to regain the trust of the hockey community and build a competitive team for the future.