We’ve all heard tales of Mike Babcock’s coaching, be it from ex-players or other coaches in the league (See: Mike Commodore and Mark Fraser). He was an extreme guy and not many people seemed to get along with him. His recent firing from the Toronto Maple Leafs has brought out some dark stories about his time there.
The Toronto Sun published an interesting story detailing some events that transpired when the Leafs had Babcock at the helm. One that shocked me and pissed me off was from the 2016-17 season.
Basically, Babcock asked a Leafs’ rookie to list the players on the team from hardest working to those lacking. So the rookie did that and Babcock turned around and told the players who the rookie said.
That’s so fucked up.
On top of that, according to Ian Tulloch, that rookie was Mitch fuckin’ Marner. Marner has always been an open book guy, open about his emotions. I can imagine as an 18-19-year-old kid, he was probably pretty fucked up after that. You cannot trust a coach that throws you under the bus to the locker room of guys that you need to trust you.
I have also seen multiple people talk that Mitch said Kadri and you can read this chilling story here:
For a guy who claims to be a mental health advocate this is just messed up. The manipulation and blatant verbal abuse can dig into a player of any age or ability and forcing your players through that and alienating them in the locker room is just going to damage people’s mental health. You cannot open up the conversation about mental health while making your players feel like they have no one to turn to.
Multiple players have talked about how manipulative Babcock could be, including Commodore and Fraser. There should be some level of competition on a team almost like sibling rivalry but this is unbelievably unhealthy.
I’ve said that I’m happy Babcock is gone but now double that happiness. He’s fucked over a number of players, like Spezza and Barrie recently. The team has been better without him and I think they’ll just keep rising from here.
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