Evander Kane will not be allowed to play for the Sharks for the first quarter of the season … the NHL just banned the star forward 21 games for violating the league’s COVID-19 protocol.

League officials announced the suspension in a statement Monday … though they did not specify what rule he broke.

Of course, Kane had been reportedly under investigation for allegedly submitting a fake COVID vaccine card to the NHL … but the league only said in their statement Monday that Kane was being barred "for an established violation of, and lack of compliance with, the NHL/NHLPA COVID-19 Protocol."

The league added that Kane will not be paid during the suspension … with his forfeited cash going to the league’s Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.