SAN JOSE, Calif. – An NHL investigation into Sharks forward Evander Kane about whether he may have violated the league’s COVID-19 protocol revolves around the alleged use of a fake vaccination card, according to a new report.
Kane is facing two investigations, with one, according to an NHL news release that was posted to the league’s website on Sept. 22, involving “allegations of inappropriate behavior potentially jeopardizing the health and safety of Club members.” The other “involves serious accusations” related to his past behavior in his marriage.
Front Office Sports first reported details of the league’s investigation into the possible COVID-19 protocol violation. A Sharks spokesman declined to comment.
In an email to this news organization, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in general, each team is responsible for managing information about each player’s vaccination status. Daly also said there remains no timetable for the league’s investigations to be completed.
Making or buying a fake COVID-19 vaccination record card is against federal law. The FBI in March issued a statement that said, “the unauthorized use of an official government agency’s seal (such as HHS or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)) is a crime, and may be punishable under Title 18 United States Code, Section 1017, and other applicable laws.”
The NHL this season is not mandating that its players receive the coronavirus vaccine. However, unvaccinated players face severe restrictions, including not being able to cross the border from the United States into Canada without a lengthy quarantine.
Teams can also suspend unvaccinated players without pay for each day they are unable to participate in hockey activities. The Sharks are scheduled to play nine games in Canada this season, including three later this month in Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto.
While traveling, unvaccinated players can only go to the team hotel, the practice facility, and the arena, and are not allowed to visit public places such as bars, restaurants, gyms, and pools. Unvaccinated players are also forbidden from having teammates or visitors in their hotel rooms.
On Sept. 16, Daly said estimated that 98 percent of NHL players would be fully vaccinated prior to the start of the regular season on Oct. 12.
The NHL’s COVID protocols state that “established violations of, and/or lack of compliance with, the COVID-19 Protocol will result in significant Club and individual sanctions, including potential forfeiture of games, fines, and reimbursements of expenses, loss of draft choices, and/or ineligibility for participation in training activities.”
Kane, by mutual agreement with the Sharks, is not participating in the team’s training camp for the time being. The Sharks play their sixth and final preseason game on Saturday at home against the Vegas Golden Knights.
NHL teams have to set their 23-man rosters for the start of the season by Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. (PT). The Sharks up until this point have offered no indication on what they plan to do about Kane, who remained on the team’s training camp roster as of Tuesday morning.
It’s been a tumultuous year for Kane, 30, who is in the fourth year of a seven-year, $49 million deal he signed with the Sharks in 2018.
Kane declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in January, listing assets totaling just over $10.2 million and his liabilities at over $26.8 million, and in March he was sued by one of his creditors for $15 million.
In July, the NHL announced it was opening an investigation into Kane shortly after his estranged wife, Anna, alleged on social media that Evander gambled on NHL games and was throwing games to win money – clear violations of league rules.
The NHL on Sept. 22 said it found no evidence of illicit gambling on league games by Evander Kane, but also stated at the time that unrelated allegations were now being examined. Earlier that week, Anna Kane leveled accusations of domestic violence and sexual assault against the Sharks player in a restraining order application filed in Santa Clara County Family Court.
Hours after the NHL issued its statement about its investigations into Kane, the Sharks said the team and the forward “agreed that he will not be participating” in the Sharks’ training camp “until further notice.”
The Sharks’ first regular-season game is Oct. 16 at home against the Winnipeg Jets.
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