Mike Babcock investigation given new life; BioSteel seeking bankruptcy proection: Around the NHL

Photo credit:© The Columbus Dispatch-USA TODAY NETWORK
David Quadrelli
8 months ago
Welcome back to Around the NHL (previously known as Around the League) — the column here at CanucksArmy where we deliver you news and notes from around the National Hockey League, oftentimes through a Vancouver Canucks-tinted lens.
In Canucksland, the Young Stars Classic kicks off today in Pencticton and training camp from Victoria gets going on Thursday. We’re going to be at both events and will be bringing you wall-to-wall coverage of both, but before that, it felt fitting to drop our latest Around the NHL column as there are a few headlines around the league worth following.
Mike Babcock investigation given new life
Earlier this week, we wrote about the developing situation in Columbus. In case you missed it, here’s what happened.
The Columbus Blue Jackets announced an investigation on their new head coach Mike Babcock on Tuesday after a report from Paul Bissonnette of the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast claimed Babcock was going through players’ personal photos on their phones.
Here’s what Bissonnette said:
“I get a text from a player. He goes, ‘have you heard what Babcock is up to again?’ So he gets to Columbus, and one of the first things he does is he calls in Boone Jenner, the [expletive] captain of the team, and he says, ‘let me see the photos in your phone, I want to know the type of person you are.’ What the [expletive] is going on? is that it’s no Human League. I want to get him on the podcast to grill him about his antics, as a head coach. Like, worry about the [expletive] forecheck, worry about your personnel.”
The Blue Jackets, Babcock and captain Boone Jenner responded to Bissonnette’s claim later that day.
“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. There was absolutely nothing more to it than that,” Babcock said in a statement issued by the team on Sept. 12. “The way this was portrayed on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast was a gross misrepresentation of those meetings and extremely offensive.”
“While meeting with Babs he asked me about my family and where I’m from, my upcoming wedding and hockey-related stuff,” Jenner said in a statement from the team. “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.”
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that both the NHL and NHLPA were at first satisfied with explanations from Jenner and Johnny Gaudreau. “However, it appears things changed for both later that night when information was received that some of the younger Blue Jackets were uncomfortable with what had occurred,” Friedman reported Thursday night.
As a result, this situation will be a primary focus between the NHL and NHLPA, who are set to meet in New York today, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. Early Friday morning, Dreger made an appearance on TSN 1050’s First Up, and said this:
“Based on the information that has been discovered and percolated to the surface in the last 48 hours, I think there’s a chance Babcock’s job could be in question I’m not reporting or predicting it’s going to happen, but there’s a chance that happens.”
This is a developing situation and we will update this story when more information becomes available.
BioSteel seeking bankruptcy protection
Have you heard of BioSteel? Likely. Have you ever drunk it? Less likely.
The official sports drink partner of the NHL, BioSteel, has initiated creditor protection proceedings in both Canada and the United States. The company said that the decision to seek bankruptcy protection in both Canada and the US was due to them no longer having access to funding for the brand “which continued to generate negative operating cash flow.”
BioSteel boasted big partnerships with various athletes, and in hockey, this included the likes of Connor McDavid, Connor Bedard, and Nathan MacKinnon.
Originally founded in 2009 by entrepreneur John Celenza and NHL player Mike Cammalleri, BioSteel was eventually taken over by Canopy Growth in 2019, as part of a plan by the cannabis company to diversify its products into more beverages.
According to a court filing, BioSteel, named the official hydration partner of the NHL in 2022, did not make their most recent payment to the NHL on that deal.
Here is part of what CBC’s Senior Business Writer Pete Evans had to say about the situation:
“While companies often do shut down completely as a result of CCAA proceedings, that’s not always the case. For BioSteel, the plan is to find a buyer who wants to run it as an independent company.
As of July, BioSteel has engaged with 24 different potential buyers, including one involving unnamed current and former members of the company’s management team. By Sept. 5, six preliminary, non-binding proposals were received…So the CCAA filing is designed to buy time to sort out any details that would be required for those deals to come to fruition.”
Obviously, it’s unclear what impact, if any, this could have on NHL revenues down the line, but with the salary cap expected to finally see a sizeable increase next offseason, it’s another situation that hockey fans will be watching closely.

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