From the NHL:
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov has been suspended indefinitely from all club activities pending a formal investigation by the National Hockey League of an arrest this morning on charges of domestic violence.
The suspension was imposed under Section 18-A.5 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which provides that, during the pendency of a criminal investigation, “The League may suspend the Player pending the League’s formal review and disposition of the matter where the failure to suspend the Player during this period would create a substantial risk of material harm to the legitimate interests and/or reputation of the League.”
Voynov, who will continue to be paid during the pendency of the investigation, was arrested for California Penal Code section 273.5, Domestic Violence.
This marks the second consecutive year an NHLer has found himself in the middle of a domestic violence investigation. Last season, Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov was arrested on second-degree kidnapping and third-degree assault charges, which were eventually dropped.
The NHL’s handling of the Voynov case is far different than how it dealt with the Varlamov incident. The league didn’t suspend the Colorado goalie — in fact, he played for the Avs two days after his arrest — with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly offering the following explanation as to why:
“At this point, we are monitoring the developing legal situation and do not intend to intervene in that process. There may come a point in time where we feel it is either necessary or appropriate to take a different approach, but that’s not where we are right now.
“We are and will remain in close contact with the Club, and will see how the underlying facts unfold.”
Recently, though, commissioner Gary Bettman was asked about the league’s stance on domestic violence given recent shifts in the landscape, most notably after high-profile incidents in the NFL involving ex-Ravens running back Ray Rice and Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy.
“(Domestic violence prevention) is something we’ve been doing with the Players’ Association for more than a decade,” he said, per USA Today. “As a league, we have more than enough mechanism and authority to punish if necessary in the appropriate case. We haven’t seen too many though. We focus on counselling and education with the Players Association. The NHL’s Security Department does that each year in its meetings with each team.”
Per Sportsnet, Voynov will continue to be paid during his suspension. The Russian rearguard is currently in the second of a six-year, $25 million deal that pays $4.16M annually. Voynov, 24, has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings organization and has appeared in all six games this year, averaging over 23 minutes per night.
Update: According to media reports, Voynov was arrested at 12:45 a.m. Monday by Redondo Beach police and has a court date scheduled for Oct. 22 in Torrance, CA.
Update 2: Here’s the Redondo Beach police department statement on the arrest, per the O.C. Register.