On Wednesday morning, the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced that Terry Jones, head coach and general manager of the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, had been suspended for eight games after two of his players took part in the team’s activities for about three weeks after receiving just one dose of the vaccine. The Nitehawks were also fined $ 2,500 for violating vaccination policy.
The league has implemented its COVID-19 vaccination policy in August, requiring all players, bench staff and on-ice officials to be fully immunized before the start of the regular season on October 1. As part of the policy, the league checks the vaccination status of players during the season.
League commissioner Jeff Dubois said that after the league discovered on November 12 that two Nitehawks players had received only one shot, they decided to take Jones off the bench and opened an investigation. November 15.
Dubois notes that Jones is the first and only person to be suspended or fined under the league’s comprehensive vaccination policy.
“Based on the length of time the players competed with the Nitehawks in violation of our policy and the circumstances that we discovered during the investigation, we estimated this to be a penalty period. appropriate, ”Dubois told host Sarah Penton. Radio-Canada Radio West.
Jones says he’s not happy with the suspension and is fine, but accepts them and admits it was his mistake to forget to remind players to take their second dose before the start of the season .
“I didn’t put a calendar in my phone to remind my players to get their second shot,” he said in a separate interview.
Jones says he had not planned for partially vaccinated players to participate in team activities during the season.
Dubois agrees that this is a purely administrative error. “It was not a case, in our opinion, which was [the] team seeking competitive advantage or deliberately trying to deceive anyone. “
Dubois adds that the two players involved are now fully vaccinated and can continue to play in regular season games.
He says he’s not aware of any cases of COVID-19 within the league – including among Nitehawks players and their opponents – so far this season.
In a declaration, the league said Jones will be able to return when the Nitehawks visit Fernie, BC on Dec. 11.