NHL Team Replaces New Assistant Coach for Refusing to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

A National Hockey League (NHL) team has replaced its new assistance coach after he refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Columbus Blue Jackets announced on Sept. 13 that Sylvain Lefebvre, who signed a three-year-contract with the team last June, will be replaced by Cleveland Monsters Associate Coach and former NFL defenseman Steve McCarthy.

The team said that Lefebvre “will not be able to perform the duties required of him” because he refused to get vaccinated and NHL requires coaches and other team staff who closely interact with players to be fully vaccinated.

“Protocols were sent to clubs the beginning of September. The protocols state in part that ‘any person whose job, role, position or access entails or entitles them to have personal interactions (within 12 feet) with Club Hockey Operations personnel (including Players) must be fully vaccinated,'” Blue Jackets Vice President of Communications Todd Sharrock told NBC News.

“While we are disappointed, we respect that this decision is a personal one for Sylvain and wish him well,” Blue Jackets General Manager and Alternate Governor Jarmo Kekalainen said.

The NHL, National Football League, and the National Basketball Association have all imposed strict vaccination mandates on those who interact closely with players — a move that prompted controversy and some resignations.


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