Leafs' Marner encourages players to speak out on mistreatment by coaches

After Mitch Marner confirmed a story that recently surfaced about Mike Babcock forcing him to rank his teammates by work ethic, he took things a step further when he met with the media on Tuesday.

Those words might seem relatively innocuous and intuitive, but they are meaningful coming from a player of Marner’s stature. Hockey culture is steeped in an ethos that tends to favour guys who keep their heads down, do their jobs, and don’t rock the boat. Even the best players in the league often act and speak like third-line grinders and are lauded for it.

When a guy like Marner, a legitimate star and one of the best forwards in the game, publicly states that bringing stories of mistreatment at the hands of coaches is OK, that carries weight. In the wake of news breaking of the Babcock-Marner incident, the hockey world is currently abuzz about serious and corroborated allegations against Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters that assert he made shocking racist remarks to Akim Aliu — remarks Aliu brought forward in reference to the Babcock story.

Mitch Marner is putting the word out that it's OK for players to tell their stories about mistreatment from coaches. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Whether we’re about to face an avalanche of horror stories about how coaches have treated young hockey players over the years remains to be seen, but Marner has done his part to help open the door for those stories to be heard.

For what it’s worth Marner says he was able to forgive Babcock following the incident and repair the relationship. After Babcock’s dismissal last week, Marner sent his former coach a text to thank him for helping turn the franchise around.

More Maple Leafs coverage from Yahoo Sports Canada