Blue Jackets owner says hockey ops will remain in place after Babcock resignation

Columbus Blue Jackets owner John McConnell said the organization will not be making additional changes to its hockey operations department after head coach Mike Babcock was forced to resign Sunday.

“Our ownership group is deeply frustrated and disappointed by the events of the past week,” McConnell said in a statement issued by the team Monday that also endorsed the decision to replace Babcock with Pascal Vincent.

“We had candid conversations with our leadership after last season about our goals and expectations for growth and progress on the ice in 2023-24. Those expectations are still in place and can still be achieved, so we do not anticipate further changes to our hockey leadership team at this time. Additional disruptions would be detrimental to our players and coaches as they prepare for the opening of training camp in two days.”

The Blue Jackets hired Babcock as head coach on July 1 but before he could coach a game. His conduct came under scrutiny after former NHLer Paul Bissonette of Spittin’ Chiclets reported the coach had made some players uncomfortable by asking to see photos on their phones.

The Blue Jackets subsequently released statements from Babcock and captain Boone Jenner downplaying the photo situation, but a follow-up investigation by NHLPA leadership ultimately led to Babcock’s resignation Sunday.

“According to multiple sources, one of the most serious concerns was a meeting that occurred away from team facilities that included ‘several minutes’ of looking through a phone. That was beyond the scope of what was initially understood to have occurred,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Sunday.

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