The NHL has suspended San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane for 21 regular season games without pay, for an established violation of, and lack of compliance with, the NHL/NHLPA COVID-19 Protocol. The league also released the following statement regarding the other allegations that were under investigation:
The National Hockey League also announced today that its concurrent investigation into allegations of domestic abuse made against Kane by his estranged wife, Deanna, could not be substantiated.
On October 6, Josh Dubow of the Associated Press reported that Kane was being investigated for allegations that he used a fake vaccination card. The league did not specify how the protocol was breached and indicated it would not comment further. Kane has already been away from the Sharks for the entire preseason as the investigations continued, and will now be ineligible to play for them until their game on November 30.
It has been an extremely tumultuous offseason for the Sharks and their star forward, as Kane has now been involved in three separate league investigations. Though he has been cleared in two of them, this long suspension means he won’t be able to help them for quite some time. Whether the two sides will reunite down the road is unclear, especially after a protocol violation that brought about this severe suspension.
I would like to apologize to my teammates, the San Jose Sharks organization and all Sharks fans for violating the NHL COVID protocols. 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 Sharks have released a statement of their own on the extended loss of one of their top players and notably will not comment again until after the suspension is over:
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 NHLPA.