The NHL is reportedly investigating one of its players for allegedly using a fake COVID vaccine card.
Evander Kane, one of the top players on the San Jose Sharks, is being investigated after allegations arose that he submitted fake vaccine documents to the team. Front Office Sports first reported on the investigation. Kane, the Sharks, and the NHL have yet to comment on the story. According to ESPN, the NHL would look to suspend Kane if the allegations prove to be true.
Kane is not participating in the San Jose Sharks training camp after his estranged wife, Anna Kane, levelled allegations of domestic and sexual abuse against him in divorce documents. Kane denies the allegations and the NHL has said they’re investigating the claims. The league had just cleared Kane from Anna Kane’s previous allegations of him gambling on his games.
Professional sports haven’t necessarily had a completely smooth transition as leagues attempt to return to something resembling normalcy amid the fourth wave of the pandemic. It’s been reported some NFL players may be using fake vaccine cards. Several players in the major North American sports leagues have refused to get vaccinated, including Kyrie Irving of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets and Tyler Bertuzzi of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings.
Players using fake vaccination documents could not only be in trouble with their leagues but also with the law. Authorities in many jurisdictions have been clear that fake vaccine documents are illegal and could result in large fines or even jail time.
It is not a requirement for NHL players to get vaccinated but the rules for those who don’t are punitive. This includes restricting unvaccinated players to the team hotel, practice facility, and arena when out on road games, and not allowing visitors outside of a player’s personal bubble into hotel rooms. The international travel restrictions are rather severe; while a player in the United States, like Kane, could travel from city to city domestically he could not travel over to Canada, which has seven NHL teams. The San Jose Sharks play in the NHL’s Pacific division, which features three Canadian teams they would face frequently. Players will not be paid for games they miss due to not being vaccinated.
Kane’s perhaps gotten a lot more leeway than most would in the NHL because he is an effective player. The 30-year-old was the highest-scoring player on the team last year, putting up 49 points in 56 games.
Kane is no stranger to controversy. His rather large gambling debts and bankruptcy claims have garnered significant attention over the past few years. Earlier this year, Kane’s estranged wife posted that he had gambled on his games, prompting an investigation by the NHL (which cleared Kane of wrongdoing). In 2015, Kane made headlines around the world when he bought a billboard in Los Angeles to apologize to his girlfriend.
Despite his scoring touch, the Athletic reported Kane’s teammates allegedly don’t want him around anymore. This sentiment seems to hold to the front office as well, as it’s also been reported that earlier in the year the Sharks were looking into a way to void Kane’s contract that pays him $7 million a year for the next four years.
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