The Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that assistant coach Sylvain Lefebvre has been replaced after deciding not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
In a press release, the club said Lefebvre’s decision would not allow him to perform the duties required of him because of current NHL COVID-19 protocols. As a result, the team has promoted former NHLer and Cleveland Monsters assistant Steve McCarthy to the position.
“While we are disappointed, we respect that this decision is a personal one for Sylvain and wish him well,” GM Jarmo Kekalainen said.
Lefebvre was set to join the Blue Jackets after spending the past three years as an assistant coach with the AHL's San Diego Gulls and six as the main bench boss with Montreal's farm teams. Lefebvre previously worked as an assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche, holding the position from 2009 until 2012.
McCarthy will get his first crack as an NHL assistant after spending the past five years with Columbus' AHL club. McCarthy played 302 games as a defenseman in the NHL, recording 55 points with Chicago, Vancouver and Atlanta from 1999 until 2008. McCarthy finished his playing career with the Lake Erie Monsters before the team changed its name to the Cleveland Monsters shortly after.
Earlier this month, the league announced new protocols in regards to COVID-19, tightening restrictions for those without the vaccine.