The NHL has finally made a decision regarding Slava Voynov. The defenseman has been suspended for the entire 2019-20 season and playoffs, while his eligibility will be restored on July 1, 2020 assuming “good behavior.” Voynov had applied for reinstatement after he previously received an indefinite ban from the league following his 2014 arrest for domestic violence. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has released this statement:
I have determined that Player Slava Voynov engaged in acts of domestic violence directed at his wife. Today’s ruling, while tailored to the specific facts of this case and the individuals involved, is necessary and consistent with the NHL’s strongly-held policy that it cannot and will not tolerate this and similar types of conduct, particularly as directed at a spouse, domestic partner or family member.
While Voynov had already been suspended for years, the important thing to note out of this decision is that he now has the right to appeal the decision with a neutral arbitrator. The NHLPA is reviewing the decision currently and could file an appeal on the behalf of Voynov.
In 2014, Voynov was arrested following a domestic violence incident and spent nearly two months in jail after pleading no contest. He was suspended indefinitely by the league and returned to Russia to play in the KHL, where he suited up for three years with St. Petersburg SKA. Last summer he petitioned the court to have his conviction dismissed, and started the process for reinstatement to the NHL.
As Bettman stated today, the incident revolved around Voynov and his wife, Marta Varlamova. That incident has been detailed and examined countless times since the arrest—perhaps most thoroughly by The Athletic’s Katie Strang (subscription required) last June—and will certainly bring about plenty more media speculation now that his name is back in the news.
It is important to note that Voynov’s NHL rights still belong to the Los Angeles Kings, the team he was playing for when he was first suspended. The team gave a statement to LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen, indicating that they are still reviewing the decision themselves and that it would be premature to comment at this point.