San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane has been suspended for 21 games without pay by the NHL on Monday for an "established violation" of the NHL/NHLPA COVID-19 protocol.
Sources confirmed earlier this month that Kane was being investigated over allegations that he submitted a fake COVID-19 vaccination card to the NHL and the Sharks. While the NHL and the NHLPA do not have a vaccine mandate for the 2021-22 season, vaccinated players have far fewer restrictions on them than do unvaccinated players -- including the ability to play games in Canada without a mandatory quarantine.
According to the NHL, Kane was suspended for "an established violation of, and lack of compliance with, the NHL/NHLPA COVID-19 Protocol." The money he'll forfeit goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund, per the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.
"I would like to apologize to my teammates, the San Jose Sharks organization, and all Sharks fans for violating the NHL COVID protocols," said Kane in a statement released by the NHLPA. "I made a mistake, one I sincerely 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 is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey."
The NHL was also investigating allegations of domestic assault made by his estranged wife, Anna Kane, in a recent divorce filing. In announcing the 21-game suspension, the NHL said that "its concurrent investigation into allegations of domestic abuse made against Kane by his estranged wife, [Anna], could not be substantiated."
The suspension continues a tumultuous year off the ice for Kane. He was accused by Anna Kane of betting on NHL games, including his own games with the Sharks, whose outcomes she claimed he intentionally sought to influence for his benefit. The NHL investigated the claims and cleared Kane last month, saying it found no evidence that he bet on hockey.
"The NHL has advised our organization that Evander Kane has been suspended without pay for 21 games for an established violation of, and lack of compliance with, the NHL/NHLPA COVID-19 protocols," the team said in a Monday statement. "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. We will not be commenting further on Evander's status prior to the conclusion of the NHL's mandated suspension."
Kane did not take part in Sharks training camp and has yet to appear in a game for them this season. He'll be eligible to return to the team on for San Jose's Nov. 30 game at the New Jersey Devils.
This is Kane's sixth suspension in the NHL. He was banned for two games for an illegal hit while with Winnipeg in 2014; one game for a violation of team rules while with the Buffalo Sabres in 2018; one playoff game for an illegal check in 2019 while with the Sharks; three games for abuse of officials in 2019 with the Sharks; and three games for elbowing with the Sharks in 2020.