Former Leafs head coach reveals what he's doing differently with his second chance in the NHL

Mike Armenti
September 10, 2023  (11:58)

With Mike Babcock officially rejoining the NHL coaching ranks this season in Columbus, there are still a large number of people who believe that he hasn't changed and that it's only a matter of time before we hear of his next indiscretion.

Babcock hasn't coached in the NHL since being fired by the Maple Leafs back in November of 2019, taking on a coaching gig with a college team in his home province of Saskatchewan while still being paid by the Leafs. Now set to return with the Blue Jackets, Babcock revealed to NHL.com how he plans to keep himself on the right side of the line going forward.
"We're also going to have a communication contract, because I learned that I was brutal at it, and I thought I was good at it."

Babcock has enlisted the services of experts at Ohio State to develop a new system with the Blue Jackets to ensure that the lines of communication between he and his players remain open and that everyone's mental health is considered.
"I want them to tell me how they want to be talked to, how they want to meet. Some guys don't ever want to come into your office. Are you getting them a coffee? Are you getting them under the stands on the way out? I used to skate around with guys before (practice), but now if you skate around with a guy, there's an article (written about it), so you can't do that."

"I want to treat you with the utmost respect. My intention is going to be kind. But I want you to maximize what the good Lord gave you. I want you to push. I promise you this year in Columbus we're going to work, I promise you, so you have to buy into that."

With mental health issues more prominent now than they've ever been, Babcock is putting an emphasis on dealing with mental health issues and making sure that nobody is suffering in silence.
"You and I get together," Babcock says. "'How's your mental health?' 'I'm not doing very good.' 'OK, are we talking to somebody? Do we have your own person? Have we talked to our guy? What steps are we taking?'"

"You can think of nothing worse than suffering in silence. Sometimes because of the stigma, people say they don't want to share. Well, actually, the more you talk about it, the more you share, the better you feel, and if you've got someone to share with and get ideas, that's a positive thing. Open up the dialogue is what I'm basically saying. On a consistent basis."

I'm of the firm belief that everyone deserves a second chance, so I truly do hope that Babcock has changed his ways and can continue on this new path of open communication and mental health support for his players.
Source: NHL.com
Former Leafs head coach reveals what he's doing differently with his second chance in the NHL

Do you think Babcock has changed?

Yes4918.6 %
No15558.7 %
Not sure, but we're about to find out6022.7 %
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