The Columbus Blue Jackets announced today that Cleveland Monsters Associate Coach and former National Hockey League defenseman Steve McCarthy has replaced Sylvain Lefebvre as an assistant coach on Head Coach Brad Larsen's staff. Lefebvre has decided not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and thus will not be able to perform the duties required of him given current NHL protocols.
"While we are disappointed, we respect that this decision is a personal one for Sylvain and wish him well," said club General Manager and Alternate Governor Jarmo Kekalainen. "We feel fortunate to have an outstanding coach join our club in Steve McCarthy, who has played in this league, won championships as a player and been an important member of our hockey operations department as an assistant coach in Cleveland."
McCarthy, 40, has spent the past five seasons as an assistant coach with Cleveland, Columbus' American Hockey League affiliate. Prior to joining the Monsters staff, he enjoyed a 16-year playing career that included eight NHL seasons between 1999-2008. Selected by Chicago in the first round, 23rd overall, in the 1999 NHL Draft, he registered 17 goals and 38 assists for 55 points with 168 penalty minutes in 302 career NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks and Atlanta Thrashers.
"Steve has done a great job working with our young defensemen in Cleveland the past five years and is ready for this opportunity," said Larsen. "He is a really bright, young coach with a great work ethic and I'm excited about what he will bring to our staff."
The Trail, British Columbia native played seven seasons in the AHL, including his final season in 2015-16 with the Monsters, and spent several years in Europe with stints with ZSC Lions in Switzerland, TPS in Finland and Salavat Yulaev Ufa in Russia's KHL. Before turning pro, he played three-plus seasons with the Edmonton/Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League from 1997-00, earning WHL East First All-Star Team honors with Kootenay in his final season. He also won a pair of bronze medals for Canada at the 2000 and 2001 IIHF World Junior Championships.