Shane Pinto breaks silence on 41-game gambling suspension

It's one of the longest suspensions in NHL history.



The National Hockey League slapped Ottawa Senators forward Shane Pinto with a stunning 41-game suspension, literally half of the regular season, after an investigation into gambling-related activities revealed that he had broken League guidelines. 

His suspension was officially listed as being due to "activities related to sports wagering". 

And while he's still several days away from being able to return to the ice in game action, he was back out with his teammates recently for the first time in quite a while. 

“I don’t want to get too emotional, but it’s awesome,” Pinto told a handful of reporters in Ottawa on Friday. ” It’s been a long road for me.”

“It broke my heart, honestly. I care about this game so much,” Pinto said. “I put so much time and effort into it. To get it taken away from you for that long, it’s tough to hear. You’re kind of in shock at first.”

“I got to be more cautious, more mature in what I’m doing. I got to realize what position I’m in,” Pinto said. “There is always going to be a microscope on professional athletes. I took that for granted and I got to be better about it. Life can change in an instant. I learned that pretty quick.”

He was naturally asked about the amount of sports betting commercials that have bombarded hockey fans in recent months, and even the fact that the Senators have a betting company as their official helmet sponsor. However, Pinto didn't engage. 

“You see it on the commercials now, but that’s not (an) excuse,” Pinto said.

Right now, Pinto's status is officially that of a free agent, and he'll need to agree to a new contract in order to become eligible to play again. 

“We’re at the finish line here,” Pinto said. “I’m just ready to move on. It’s been about eight or nine months now since I’ve played hockey. And I just want to focus on hockey.”

Meanwhile, the Senators are once again in the NHL basement as one of the League's worst teams, something Pinto admitted that he feels bad about. 

“It’s been a tough couple of months here,” Pinto said of the team’s on-ice struggles. “I know I’ve been a distraction towards us, so I kind of feel bad about that.”

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Source: The Athletic