Columbus Blue Jackets replace assistant coach after he refused to get COVID-19 vaccine
T he Columbus Blue Jackets announced the release of an assistant coach just months into his new contract after he refused the COVID-19 vaccine.
Sylvain Lefebvre, 53, who played in the National Hockey League for 14 seasons, "has decided not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and thus will not be able to perform the duties required of him given current NHL protocols," the team said in a statement on Monday.
Lefebvre signed his new contract in June but was released due to league protocols instituted in early September, Blue Jackets Vice President of Communications Todd Sharrock told NBC .
"Protocols were sent to clubs at the beginning of September," he said. "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.'"
Lefebvre previously played for the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, and Colorado Avalanche.
He was a member of the 1996 Stanley Cup -winning Avalanche and started his coaching career in 2009.
Jarmo Kekalainen, club general manager and alternate governor, said the Blue Jackets organization recognizes Lefebvre's judgment as personal.
"While we are disappointed, we respect that this decision is a personal one for Sylvain and wish him well," he said, according to the team statement.
Steve McCarthy — an NHL veteran who was the assistant coach of the Cleveland Monsters, the team's American Hockey League affiliate, for five seasons — replaced Lefebvre Monday, the team said.
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