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KIJHL sanctions Nitehawks for violating COVID-19 vaccination policy

Nitehawks coach Terry Jones was also suspended for eight games and the team fined $2,500.

In a short statement on the league website, the Kootenay International Hockey League announced that the Beaver Valley Nitehawks have been sanctioned for violations under the league’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.

The KIJHL statement said the sanctions stem from the participation of two Nitehawks players in team activities, including KIJHL regular season games, at a time when they did not meet the KIJHL’s requirement of being fully vaccinated.

In addition, the KIJHL statement said a fine levied of $2,500 against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks organization along with suspending head coach Terry Jones for a total of eight games.

The KIJHL said Jones has not been present on the Nitehawks bench since a league investigation commenced on November 15th, meaning he is eligible to return when Beaver Valley visits Fernie on December 11th.

The KIJHL said the league would make no further comment on this matter.

However, during an interview on CBC’s Radio West, KIJHL commissioner Jeff Dubois said the punishment to the Nitehawks and the head coach was appropriate as the team, based on findings of an investigation, contravened the league’s COVID-19 policy.

Dubois added the investigation revealed the violation was purely an administrative error, and not a case of the Nitehawks attempting to circumvent league policy.

In August, the KIJHL announced that a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy that required all players, bench staff and on-ice officials to be fully vaccinated prior to the start of the league's 2021/22 regular season on October 1st.

The release said the policy also requires that all players, bench staff members and on-ice officials have received their first dose of the vaccine prior to any participation in a KIJHL training camp or any other on or off-ice team-based activity, effective immediately.

“The decision to institute a COVID-19 vaccination policy was made with the goal of providing the safest and most healthy environment possible for our players, staff, game officials and all of our other league stakeholders,” said Dubois.