The Columbus Blue Jackets announced Tuesday that nine-year veteran Zac Rinaldo will not be invited to the team’s training camp over the forward’s decision to not get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Rinaldo, signed to a two-way contract by Columbus last month, will begin the season with the club’s AHL team in Cleveland.
“We’re going to have 67 players in our camp and they’re all going to be vaccinated,” Columbus president John Davidson said. “Everything we do, we do together as a team.”
General manager Jarmo Kekalainen said, “the ball is in his court right now” regarding Rinaldo’s future with the team. Rinaldo is set to make $275,000 with the Monsters as opposed to $750,000 with the Jackets.
The Blue Jackets last week also parted ways with assistant coach Sylvain Lefebvre over his decision against getting the vaccine. Lefebvre was brought on by Brad Larsen after he was named head coach in June.
Rinaldo spoke out against vaccine mandates at a People’s Party of Canada rally last week.
“I’m not anti-vax, I’m not anti-mask. I’m pro-choice,” Rinaldo said at the rally, per reports.
The 31-year-old Rinaldo has registered 42 points (18 goals, 24 assists) and 758 penalty minutes in 374 games with the Philadelphia Flyers (2011-15), Boston Bruins (2015-16), Arizona Coyotes (2017-18), Nashville Predators (2018-19) and Calgary Flames (2019-21).