New Columbus Blue Jackets coach Mike Babcock has denied allegations that he scrolled through cell phone pictures of his players during introductory meetings.
Former NHL player turned podcast host and NHL TV analyst Paul Bissonnette reported that Babcock asked several Jackets 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. “They sit in my office, their phone in their hand, and they scroll through.”
Babcock denied that players were forced to share all their photos with him, only sharing the photos the players chose as part of a project to get to know each other better before camp opens.
“I met with Boone first because he’s the captain,” Babcock told The Athletic. “He showed me things about his home, his farm … He was about to get married, so (pictures of) his fiancee, too. It was a great conversation we had, a real good meeting. To think it was any other way is a huge mistake.”
“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, telling The Athletic it was his decision on which photos to share with Babcock. “To have this blown out of proportion is truly disappointing.”
Bissonnette stuck to his story on social media, saying he had “tons of players confirm it.”
The NHL Players’ Association told The Athletic it is investigating the allegations.