Sharks associate coach Thompson no longer on staff due to new COVID-19 protocols

A general view of the SAP Center prior to a 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs game between the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues. (Photo: Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)

Rocky Thompson, an associate coach with the San Jose Sharks, is no longer a member of the team's staff because, as an unvaccinated individual, he would be unable to fulfil his duties under the league's new COVID-19 protocols.

"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.

Specifics of Thompson's exemption were not made known at this time.

The NHL and NHLPA finalized new protocols for the 2021-22 season on Thursday, with a series of restrictions on unvaccinated individuals.

Among the new protocols was a mandate that any person whose job, role, position or access entails or entitles them to have interactions within 12 feet of players must be fully vaccinated.

The Sharks say they will be announcing a replacement for Thompson "in the near future," though did not detail a specific timeline on the hiring process.

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