The NHL has officially extended the indefinite suspension for former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov. The league announced today that Voynov is ineligible to return to the NHL next season, the earlier he’ll be able to re-enter the will be for the 2020-21 season.
While it is a lengthy suspension, no one was shocked by it. After all, it was alleged that Voynov caused “great bodily harm” to his wife Marta Varlamova in a domestic argument. Voynov was suspended indefinitely by the NHL and he eventually had his contract terminated by the Los Angeles Kings.
Officers testified that Varlamova told police Voynov punched, kicked, and choked her, and that her face was cut after Voynov pushed her into a flat-screen television. The officer also testified to seeing a laceration above Varlamova’s left eye, blood streaming, and red marks on her neck. Voynov’s attorney claimed that police misunderstood Varlamova because she doesn’t speak English and maintained she “fell down.”
In 2015, Voynov pleaded no contest to the charges and served 90 days in Seal Beach Police Detention Center in California. Upon his release he returned to Russia, signing a deal with the KHL powerhouse SKA Saint Petersburg. After three seasons and two championships in Russian, including a gold medal win at the 2018 Winter Olympics, Voynov was seeking a return to the NHL, however, it will have to wait.
He could be able to play in the NHL again in July 2020.
After the suspension was made public, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman commented on the league’s decision and was asked if Voynov should be able to play hockey again.
His answer might anger some people as it seems to have come out wrong or was just out of line…
Bettman answered to deprive someone of their livelihood forever is something you have to take quite seriously. He added that the incident happened in 2014, there has been counselling since, the couple is still together and the judicial record has been wiped out and expunged.
Yeah, probably not what fans were hoping to hear, Gary….
The NHL commissioner went on to say - maybe to redeem himself - that this is the most severe punishment any league has given any player on the case of domestic abuse, bar none.
What do you think about Bettman’s answer? Is the NHL commissioner in hot water now?!