NHL Players’ Association leaders are in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday to speak with Blue Jackets players about an allegation new head coach Mike Babcock invaded their privacy, The Athletic reported.
Former NHL player turned podcast host and NHL TV analyst Paul Bissonnette said Tuesday that Babcock asked several players for their phones and displayed pictures via Airplay in Babcock’s office.
In a social media post, Bissonnette said he had received corroboration from several players that the story is accurate. However, both Babcock and captain Boone Jenner denied the allegations in public statements.
“(Bissonnette’s version) couldn’t be anything further from the truth,” Babcock told The Athletic earlier this week. “They sit in my office, their phone in their hand, and they scroll through.”
Now, NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh and assistant executive director Ron Hainsey, who played for Columbus, are on a fact-finding mission. The Athletic reported Thursday.
The NHLPA would say only that an investigation is ongoing.
Jenner said he considered sharing his photos, which he hand-picked, with Babcock as an avenue for the coach to learn more about his new players.
“I thought it was a great first meeting and good way for us to start to build a relationship,” Jenner said in a statement through the club on Tuesday.
Bissonnette continues to stand by his comments.
The Blue Jackets fired Brad Larsen on April 15 after finishing last in the Eastern Conference at 25-48-9 (59 points). They hired Babcock, 60, on July 1.
Babcock has not coached in the NHL since being fired by Toronto in November 2019.
He coached Detroit to a 2008 Stanley Cup championship and also reached the Stanley Cup Final with the Red Wings in 2009 and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.
–Field Level Media