The National Hockey League announced Monday that it had suspended San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane for 21 games, without payment, for “an established violation” of the league’s Covid-19 protocol.
The announcement did not explain how Mr Kane had violated protocols, but several news organizations, including The Associated Press, reported that he presented the competition with false proof of vaccination. NewsMadura has not independently verified the claim.
Teams have the right to suspend and withdraw the salaries of unvaccinated players who cannot play due to protocols or local regulations.
Mr. Kane’s forfeited wages go to the players’ emergency fund, the league said in a statement:, adding that he would not be eligible to play until November 30.
A statement of the San Jose Sharks said: the team was “disappointed by its disregard for health and safety protocols in place.”
“I made a mistake, a mistake that I sincerely regret and take responsibility for,” said Mr. Kane, who joined the league in 2009, in a statement issued by the National Hockey Players’ Association. He added that he plans to continue counseling to “help me make better decisions in the future.”
mr. Kane, 30, did not play in San Jose’s season-opening game against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. He was the Sharks’ top scorer last season with 22 goals.
Last week, the start of the league’s regular season, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said only four of the roughly 700 players had not yet received Covid-19 vaccination.
“Our vaccination rate is incredible,” said Mr. Bettman. “Four players, not four percent of the players. All our officials have been vaccinated. All personnel who come into contact with the players are vaccinated.”
The Sharks have already lost a coach due to vaccine-related restrictions. Rocky Thompson, the associate coach, stepped down last month. Mr Thompson said he had a medical reason for not staying vaccinated, but the league requires vaccinations for any non-athlete whose job involves being within 10 feet of players.