Babcock resigns as Blue Jackets coach, replaced by Vincent

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Babcock Steps Down as Blue Jackets Head Coach, Succeeded by Vincent

Mike Babcock Steps Down as Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach, Pascal Vincent Takes Over

Columbus, Ohio – On Sunday, Mike Babcock resigned from his position as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Following his departure, associate coach Pascal Vincent was promptly named as his successor, signing a two-year contract that extends through the 2024-25 season.

The coaching change comes on the heels of an incident brought to light by the “Spittin’ Chiclets” podcast, which reported that Babcock, who had been hired on July 1, had asked players to share personal photos on their private mobile devices. The situation was investigated by the NHL Players’ Association earlier in the week, leading to Babcock’s announcement of resignation.

In a statement, Babcock, aged 60, expressed his thoughts on the matter: “Upon reflection, it has become clear that continuing as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets was going to be too much of a distraction. While I’m disappointed to not have had the opportunity to continue the work we’ve begun, I know it’s in the best interest of the organization for me to step away at this time. I wish everyone in the organization well in the upcoming season.”

Mike Babcock boasts an impressive NHL coaching career, ranking 12th in NHL history with 700 wins and 16th with 1,301 games coached over 17 seasons, having worked with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Detroit Red Wings, and Toronto Maple Leafs. He clinched the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2008, reaching the Stanley Cup Final with the Mighty Ducks in 2003 and Red Wings in 2009. Babcock also led Team Canada to gold medals at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and 2014 Sochi Olympics, along with victory at the World Cup of Hockey in 2016.

Prior to joining the Columbus Blue Jackets, Babcock had been out of the NHL since his dismissal by the Toronto Maple Leafs on November 20, 2019. In the subsequent years, he served as a volunteer adviser at the University of Vermont during the 2020-21 season and coached at the University of Saskatchewan in 2021-22.

Jarmo Kekalainen, the general manager of the Blue Jackets, expressed his sentiments on the situation, stating, “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. 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.”

NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh commented, “Our players deserve to be treated with respect in the workplace. 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.”

Pascal Vincent, who had been the associate coach since 2021, will take charge as the new head coach. Vincent previously spent a decade with the Winnipeg Jets organization, including a five-year stint as the coach of the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose from 2016 to 2021.

Jarmo Kekalainen had this to say about the appointment: “Pascal Vincent is an outstanding coach. He knows our players and organization and is respected by everyone here. He was a strong candidate for our head coaching position several months ago and is in the best position to help us navigate this change as we begin camp and lead our team moving forward.”

The Columbus Blue Jackets are set to commence their training camp next week, with their first regular-season game scheduled for October 12 against the Philadelphia Flyers at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.

Pascal Vincent expressed his readiness for the new role, stating, “This is a difficult day, but I am looking forward to this opportunity and appreciate the organization’s confidence in me to lead this team. We have a great group of guys that have been working very hard to prepare for the season. My focus will be to work with our staff to help them get better every day and be ready for what we believe will be an exciting season.

References

ByNHL.com @NHLdotcom

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