The Columbus Blue Jackets aren’t messing around when it comes to COVID-19.
After firing assistant coach Sylvian Lefebvre on Sept. 13th for refusing to be vaccinated, the Blue Jackets have reportedly told forward Zac Rinaldo, who is not unvaccinated as well, that he is not welcome at training camp.
Rinaldo, whom the Blue Jackets signed to a one-year deal for league-minimum on August 13th, made headlines last week for speaking at a People’s Party of Canada rally during which he made his opposition to vaccinate passports abundantly clear.
“I’m not anti-vax, I’m not anti-mask. I’m pro-choice” were Rinaldo’s words to those in attendance.
Now, the Blue Jackets have exercised their own right to choose, opting to bar Rinaldo from training camp in order to ensure that he won’t spread a virus that has claimed the lives of 700,000 Americans.
According to Blue Jackets President of Hockey Operations, John Davidson, Rinaldo will attend the team’s AHL camp in Cleveland later this month.
The loss isn’t an especially gutting one for Columbus.
Rinaldo has never hit double-digits in points throughout his entire NHL career, proving to be a relatively useless contributor at either end of the ice, aside from his penchant for fighting and taking penalties. It was unlikely that Rinaldo would have made the Blue Jackets opening night roster anyway. The 31-year-old went pointless in four games for the Calgary Flames last season and spent large stretches of the past two years in the AHL.
Hopefully, this will stand as an example of what could happen to other players who are hesitant to get the vaccine.