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Blue Jackets assistant replaced after declining COVID-19 vaccination

Posted at 2:16 PM, Sep 13, 2021

The Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that one of its assistants has been replaced after refusing his COVID-19 vaccination.

On Monday, the team announced that Steve McCarthy had replaced Sylvain Lefebvre as an assistant coach because he refused to get a COVID-19 vaccine per the NHL’s mandate.

"While we are disappointed, we respect that this decision is a personal one for Sylvain and wish him well," said club General Manager and Alternate Governor Jarmo Kekalainen said in a press release. "We feel fortunate to have an outstanding coach join our club in Steve McCarthy, who has played in this league, won championships as a player, and been an important member of our hockey operations department as an assistant coach in Cleveland."

According to ESPN, the league's COVID protocol requires players, coaches, and staff to be vaccinated to participate.

Lefebvre was hired in June after serving as an assistant coach with the AHL San Diego Gulls, ESPN reported.

The team did not say what specific reason why Lefebvre refused to get vaccinated.