Mike Babcock resigns as Blue Jackets head coach amid investigation

COLUMBUS — A Stanley Cup championship head coach has stepped down as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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Mike Babcock resigned Sunday as Blue Jackets head coach less than a week after his requests for personal photos from players in a bonding effort drew criticism as too invasive, the Associated Press reported.

The team announced his abrupt departure in the aftermath of an investigation by the NHL Player’s Association into his conduct.

“Our players deserve to be treated with respect in the workplace,” NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh said. “Unfortunately, that was not the case in Columbus. The club’s decision to move forward with a new head coach is the appropriate course of action.”

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Babcock had only been the Blue Jackets head coach for two months.

“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,” said Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen in a statement. “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.”

Babcock had coached previously at Detroit and Toronto. He guided the Red Wings to two Stanley Cups in 2002 and 2008. He also coached Canada’s hockey team to two gold medals in the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics.

The Blue Jackets named Pascal Vincent as Babcock’s replacement and signed a two-year contract through the 2024-25 season, the AP said.

Columbus opens the 2023-24 season on October 12 hosting Philadelphia at 7 p.m. at Nationwide Arena.

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