Babcock investigation atop agenda as NHL, NHLPA meet
The National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players' Association met Friday, with the ongoing investigation into Mike Babcock and the Columbus Blue Jackets among the topics to be addressed.
The NHLPA released a statement on Friday afternoon following their meeting with the NHL.
"NHLPA officials Marty Walsh, Ron Hainsey and Don Zavelo met with the NHL earlier today at the league's New York City office regarding the matter involving Mike Babcock," the statement read. "During this meeting, we provided the NHL with an update on our ongoing review. We do not have any further comment at this time."
TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reports the Babcock situation will be the main focus, but the meeting had previously been scheduled for the two sides to discuss items on their agenda.
The meeting comes one day after NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh and assistant executive director Ron Hainsey travelled to Columbus on Thursday to meet with the Blue Jackets as part of the union’s investigation into Babcock asking to view players’ phones and photos during off-season meetings.
The situation was first brought to light during an episode of the Spittin' Chiclets podcast earlier this week, when co-host Paul Bissonnette said Babcock had asked team captain Boone Jenner to see his phone and displayed Jenner’s personal photos on his office television.
Babcock and Jenner responded to the report in a team statement released on Tuesday.
“While meeting with our players and staff I asked them to share, off their phones, family pictures as part of the process of getting to know them better, Babcock said in the statement. "There was absolutely nothing more to it than that.
"The way this was portrayed on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast was a gross misrepresentation of those meetings and extremely offensive. These meetings have been very important and beneficial, not only for me but for our players and staff as well, and to have them depicted like this is irresponsible and completely inaccurate.”
Jenner said that the situation had been “blown out of proportion.”
“While meeting with Babs he asked me about my family and where I’m from, my upcoming wedding and hockey-related stuff," Jenner said. "He then asked if I had pictures of my family, and I was happy to share some with him. He showed me pictures of his family.
"I thought it was a great first meeting and good way for us to start to build a relationship. To have this blown out of proportion is truly disappointing.”
The NHL and NHLPA both confirmed that they were investigating the matter.
Babcock was named head coach of the Blue Jackets on July 1, nearly four years after his dismissal by the Toronto Maple Leafs.