Sharks assistant Thompson unable to take vaccine, won't return


Sharks associate coach Rocky Thompson no longer will serve as a member of Bob Boughner's staff, the team announced Friday.

Due to medical reasons, Thompson is unable to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

The NHL and NHLPA jointly announced new COVID-19 protocols for the 2021-22 season Thursday, which mandates an approved vaccine for anyone coming within 12 feet of players and all other Club Hockey Operations staff.

"Due to a medical exemption that prevents me from taking the COVID-19 vaccine, under the new League protocols, I am not permitted to fulfill my duties on the Sharks coaching staff at this time," Thompson said in a statement released by the Sharks. "I will have no further comment on this matter."

Under Section 1(D) of the new protocols, unvaccinated individuals would have the following restrictions placed on them during the upcoming 2021-22 NHL season:

a. May not have personal interactions (within 12 feet) with Hockey Operations personnel (including Players); 
b. May not, at the same time as Club Hockey Operations personnel or Players, occupy Club Hockey Operations, Player spaces at the Club facilities, or access the Player or Club Hockey Operations areas on event level at the game arena; and
c. May not travel with the Club on the Club charter to and from away games.

The Sharks hired Thompson on Sept. 22, 2020 when they announced Boughner had been hired as head coach after serving as the interim head coach. In a statement released at the time, the Sharks said Thompson would be in charge of coaching the defenseman and the power play.

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Prior to joining the Sharks, Thompson served as head coach of the AHL Chicago Wolves for three seasons.

The Sharks said in the statement that they will announce a replacement for Thompson in the near future.

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