COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Blue Jackets said Monday that the team has replaced an assistant coach who declined to get a COVID-19 vaccination.
Sylvain Lefebvre was replaced on coach Brad Larsen’s staff by Steve McCarthy because “Lefebvre 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,” according to a team statement.
NHL coaches and other team staff who closely interact with players are required to be fully vaccinated.
“While we are disappointed, we respect that this decision is a personal one for Sylvain and wish him well,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said.
Lefebvre, a former NHL defenseman who played in Colorado from 1995-99 and longtime coach in the American Hockey League, was added to the staff in July by Larsen, the former Blue Jackets assistant who replaced the fired John Tortorella.
McCarthy is a former NHL defenseman who was promoted from the Cleveland Monsters, the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, for which he was an assistant coach.
“Steve has done a great job working with our young defensemen in Cleveland the past five years and is ready for this opportunity,” Larsen said.