An assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets has left his job instead of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as the National Hockey League has requested. The Blue Jackets have said the Cleveland Monsters associate coach and former professional NHL player Steve McCarthy is replacing Sylvain Lefebvre on the coaching staff under the control of the head coach Brad Larsen. The National Hockey League has made it protocol for coaching staff to be vaccinated and because Lefebvre is choosing not to be, he can no longer fulfill his duties as a coach for the team.
The club general manager and alternate governor, Jarmo Kekalainen, said that they are disappointed, but still understand that getting vaccinated is a personal choice and wish him well in life. The governors are the ruling and governing body of the NHL. New coach McCarthy is forty years old and has spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach with Cleveland’s team. Before coaching for the Monsters, McCarthy played for sixteen years. Those years consisted of eight seasons between the years of 1999 and 2008. He was chosen by Chicago in the first round and 23rd overall in the 1999 NHL Draft. He is credited with seventeen goals and thirty eight assists for fifty five points. He also has one hundred and sixty eight penalty minutes in 302 games with the Vancouver Canucks, the Atlanta Thrashers, and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Brad Larsen commented that the new coach McCarthy has done great work with the defensemen on Cleveland’s team and is excited to work with the Blue Jackets. Larsen is also excited about what McCarthy will bring to the team and calls him a bright, young, coach with great work ethic. He is originally from Trail in British Columbia and played seven seasons in the American Hockey League, a professional hockey league based in the United States and Canada that is the developmental league for the NHL. His final season was with the Cleveland Monsters. McCarthy spent years in Europe playing with the ZCS Lions in Switzerland, TPS in Finland, and against Russia’s KHL team, Salavat Yulaev Ufa. KHL stands for the Kontinental Hockey League.
Before the young coach became a professional player, he played more than three seasons with the Edmonton/Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League for three years from 1997 to 2000. He earned a Western Hockey League East First All-Star Team honors while playing for Kootenay in his last season. He also won two bronze medals for the country of Canada for two years at the 2000 and 2001 IIHF World Junior Championships. The Western Hockey League is a major junior ice hockey league based in the Northwestern United States and Western Canada. It is among the highest levels of junior hockey in Canada.
The IIHF World Junior Championships are annual events organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation. Teams with players under the age of 20 from all around the world are eligible. The new protocols do not just affect the coaching staff, but the players as well. These new rules favor vaccinated players. If a player is fully vaccinated and still tests positive for COVID-19, they will still be paid when they are on leave because the positive test will be regarded as a hockey injury. Unvaccinated players will have their movements restricted on the road, meaning they most likely will not be able to leave their hotel room or do any outside activities while on away game trips. Teams also have the option of suspending unvaccinated players without paying them. 90% to 95% of league players are vaccinated so far and others plan to be before training season begins on October twelfth.
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