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COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets said Monday the team replaced an assistant coach who refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Sylvain Lefebvre has been replaced in Coach Brad Larsen’s team by Steve McCarthy because “Lefebvre has decided not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and will therefore not be able to perform the tasks incumbent on him given current NHL protocols, ”according to a statement from the team.

NHL coaches and other team members who interact closely with players should be fully immunized.

“Although we are disappointed, we respect the fact that this decision is personal for Sylvain and wish him good luck,” said Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen.

Lefebvre, a former NHL defenseman and longtime American Hockey League coach, was added to the staff in July by Larsen, the former Blue Jackets assistant who replaced fired John Tortorella.

McCarthy is a former NHL defenseman who was promoted from the Cleveland Monsters, the team’s affiliate in the American Hockey League, for which he was an assistant coach.

“Steve has done a great job working with our young defensemen in Cleveland over the past five years and is ready to seize this opportunity,” said Larsen.

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