Evander Kane of the San Jose Sharks
Evander Kane of the San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane has been suspended for 21 games without pay by the NHL after violating the league's COVID-19 protocol.

Kane was not with the Sharks during their training camp, while he did not play in the team's season-opening 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.

The 30-year-old – who led the Sharks last season with 49 points (22 goals and 27 assists) in 56 games – is not eligible to return until November 30 against the New Jersey Devils after allegations he submitted a fake COVID-19 vaccination card to the NHL and team.

"I would like to apologise to my team-mates, the San Jose Sharks organisation, and all Sharks fans for violating the NHL COVID protocols," Kane said in a statement on Monday.

"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."

San Jose left wing Kane has four seasons remaining on a seven-year contract he signed with the Sharks in 2018.

Selected with the fourth pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, Kane has tallied 506 points – 264 goals and 242 assists – in 769 regular-season games with the Atlanta Thrashers, Jets, Buffalo Sabres and Sharks, while he has managed 13 points (six goals and seven assists) in 29 Stanley Cup playoff appearances

"The NHL has advised our organisation 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 Sharks said in a 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."

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