The National Hockey League (NHL) has indefinitely suspended Los Angeles Kings’ Russian-born defenseman Slava Voynov over charges of domestic violence. Reportedly, the woman’s injuries were so severe that she was rushed to the hospital, accompanied by Voynov.
Shortly after arriving, staff members summoned the police and reported Voynov as the person suspected of the assault. After law enforcement officials showed up at the hospital around 1:00 am this morning, he was arrested and while not yet confirmed, the woman claims the two were in a relationship. Following his arrest, Voynov posted a $50,000 bond and was released.
This year, domestic violence has plagued the National Football League (NFL) and after being criticized for inappropriately dealing with players involved, the NHL took swift action in the case of Voynov. As of today, Voynov who agreed to a six-year $25 million extension in June 2013 has been suspended indefinitely from all practices and games.
However, during the suspension period and while the official investigation is underway, Voynov will continue to receive his pay.
At this time, the reason for the assault is unclear and when questioned, the LA Kings provided no further details regarding the case. In a statement by Igor Eronko, Russian hockey writer, Voynov has a girlfriend from his hometown of Chelyabinsk although whether she was or was not the victim in this incident remains a mystery.
After announcing Voynov’s suspension, the NHL cited a particular section of the collective bargaining agreement, giving them power to suspend a player during a criminal investigation. Also stated in the agreement is significant risk of material harm to the league’s reputation and/or legitimate interest by not suspending a player.
Voynov’s case comes just one year after the NHL failed to enact a suspension or make comment pertaining to Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov’s assault charge, which was eventually dropped. Just last month, Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner spoke about the domestic violence policy for the league saying that according to the code of conduct, players are expected to do the right things and if not, they will be held accountable.
Bettman told a Canadian news outlet that using experience gained to-date, the league firmly believes that all of the proper procedures are in place for dealing with these types of situations, which in turn allows them to take the appropriate action on an individual case bases. He added that the NHL will address situations regarding the form of discipline but that they try to focus on education and counseling.