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The National Hockey League (NHL) does not appear to be playing games when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

The NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that Assistant Coach Sylvain Lefebvre has been terminated from his position with the team, due to his refusal of the COVID-19 vaccine. The team released a statement on the firing this week, that said:

"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"

The termination of Lefebvre, a former Stanley Cup winning NHL Defenseman, is due to the NHL's overall COVID-19 vaccine policy, and not a Columbus-only policy. The NHL sent their vaccine policy to teams at the start of September, and this termination might be the first of many. The NHL's COVID vaccine policy says:

“any person whose job, role, position or access entails or entitles them to have personal interactions (within 12 feet) with Club Hockey Operations personnel (including Players) must be fully vaccinated."

That essentially means any member of a team's day-to-day operations, whether as a coach, player, medical staff, or even equipment personnel, must be vaccinated. So there could be multiple NHL teams with staff or players who are unvaccinated, and those individuals could soon find themselves without a position for this season.

Colorado Avalanche v Calgary Flames
Photo by Dale MacMillan/Getty Images

But back to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Lefebvre. Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen did comment on the Lefebvre situation. His statement said:

"While we are disappointed, we respect that this decision is a personal one for Sylvain and wish him well"

Not only are NHL teams having to verify the vaccination status of staff and players, but multiple venues around the league are also launching vaccine requirement policies.

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