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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.

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“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 defenceman and long-time 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 defenceman 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 defencemen in Cleveland the past five years and is ready for this opportunity,” Larsen said.

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