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Jackets coach Babcock is gone, after claims he demanded to see players' phone photos

Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Mike Babcock is officially out effective immediately, according to an announcement issued Sunday afternoon. The decision comes less than a week after a hockey podcast accused Babcock of demanding to go through players phones, allegedly to 'see what kind of person' they are.

Babcock denounced the claims, and several Jackets players said they didn't feel uncomfortable with the request. Team captain Boone Jenner said it was "disappointing that the journalist had taken the incident out of context, but the players association conducted an inquiry into the issue during a previously scheduled meeting in Columbus last week. Those findings were given to the league, which did not make public comment.

A spokesperson for the NHLPA said Sunday that that players had not been treated with the respect, and applauded the decision to end Babcock's contract. In his statement, Babcock simply said that continuing as head coach had become "too much of a distraction", and wished the organization well.

The Blue Jackets announced they have signed a two year contract with associate coach Pascal Vincent. A finalist for the top spot after John Tortorella left in 2021, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen says he had a been a strong candidate this summer, before the team signed Babcock.

Vincent will have a busy week; training camp opens with player physicals on Wednesday.

A native of Chicago, naturalized citizen of Cincinnati and resident of Columbus, Alison attended Earlham College and the Ohio State University. She has equal passion for Midwest history, hockey and Slavic poetry.