The NHL has suspended San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane for 21 games for submitting fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.
The league announced a suspension without pay on Monday and said Kane would not be eligible to play in New Jersey until November 30. Kane will lose US$1.68 million out of his US$7 million salary for this season with money going to the Players Emergency Assistance Fund.
The league also announced that the concurrent investigation into the sexual and physical abuse allegations leveled against Kane by his estranged wife, Anna, could not be substantiated.
“I would like to apologize to my teammates, the San Jose Sharks organization and all Sharks fans for violating NHL COVID protocols,” Kane said in a statement. “I made a mistake, which I deeply regret and take responsibility for. During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counseling to help me make better decisions in the future. When my suspension ends, I plan to return to the ice with a lot of effort, determination and love for the game of hockey.”
Shark did not say what Kane’s condition would be after the investigation. Kane had not been around the team since the start of training camp, while the investigation was going on in an agreement between him and the team.
“While we are encouraged by Evander’s commitment to move forward, we are deeply disappointed by his disregard for the health and safety protocols put in place by the NHL and the NHLPA,” the team said in a statement. “We will not comment further on Evander’s condition before the conclusion of the NHL’s mandatory suspension.”
Kane was previously cleared by the NHL in an investigation into allegations by Anna Kane that he had bet on hockey games, including some against the Sharks.
But the league decided Kane violated COVID-19 protocol. A person familiar with the investigation said earlier this month that the league was investigating allegations that Kane had submitted a fake vaccination card. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the details were not made public.
Using a fake vaccination card is illegal in both the United States and Canada, as well as against NHL rules.
Commissioner Gary Bateman said last week that only four players on the active roster had not been vaccinated.
Kane, 30, has three seasons in a $49 million, seven-year contract. He is with his third organization after being drafted and debuting with a stint in Atlanta/Winnipeg and Buffalo.
Last season, he scored 22 goals and 27 assists in 56 matches.