Sharks' Evander Kane suspended 21 games for submitting fake COVID-19 vaccination card
NHL also says concurrent investigation of abuse allegations could not be substantiated
The NHL has suspended San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane 21 games for submitting a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.
The league on Monday announced the suspension without pay and said Kane will not be eligible to play until Nov. 30 at New Jersey. Kane will forfeit about $1.68 million US of his $7 million salary for this season with the money going to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
The league also announced a concurrent investigation into allegations of sexual and physical abuse made 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 the NHL COVID protocols," Kane said in a statement. "I made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for. During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counselling to help me make better decisions in the future. When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey."
The <a href="https://twitter.com/NHL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NHL</a> announced today that <a href="https://twitter.com/SanJoseSharks?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SanJoseSharks</a> forward Evander Kane has been suspended for 21 regular-season games. <a href="https://t.co/2gGoptPkdV">https://t.co/2gGoptPkdV</a> <a href="https://t.co/U8HiGHKXdm">pic.twitter.com/U8HiGHKXdm</a>—@PR_NHL
The Sharks have not said what Kane's status will be after the investigations. Kane had not been around his teammates since the start of training camp, pending the investigations, under an agreement between him and the team.
"While we are encouraged by Evander's commitment to moving forward, we are extremely 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 be commenting further on Evander's status prior to the conclusion of the NHL's mandated suspension."
Kane had previously been cleared by the NHL in an investigation into allegations made by Anna Kane that he bet on hockey games, including some against the Sharks.
But the league did determine that Kane violated the COVID-19 protocols. A person familiar with the investigation said earlier this month the league was looking into allegations that Kane submitted a fake vaccination card. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details weren't made public.
Using a fake vaccination card is illegal in both the United States and Canada, as well as against NHL rules.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said last week only four players on active rosters hadn't been vaccinated.
Kane had not been around the team since the start of training camp while these investigations were ongoing in an agreement between him and the team.
Kane, 30, is three seasons into a seven-year, $49-million contract. He's with his third organization after being drafted by and debuting with Atlanta/Winnipeg and a stint in Buffalo.
Last season, he had 22 goals and 49 points in 56 games.