Disgraced Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov is asking a judge to dismiss his misdemeanor conviction of corporal injury to a spouse in a move, the LA Times reports, toward the possibility of returning to the NHL.
Voynov last played in the NHL in October 2014 after the NHL suspended him indefinitely after he was arrested on domestic violence charges. He’s played the last three seasons in Russia with the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg.
Voynov’s wife, Marta Varlamova, told police in October 2014 that her husband punched her left jaw outside of a Halloween party. The dispute continued at the couple’s Redondo Beach home, according to the police report, where Voynov choked her with both hands three times, repeatedly pushed her to the ground, kicked her five to six times on the ground and eventually shoved her into the corner of a flat-screen television mounted on a wall.
“My blood, all over bedroom and bathroom,” Varlamova told police in a recorded interview. “And it’s not the first time.”
Voynov spent two months in jail after pleading no contest to the charges. He returned to Russia rather than face deportation from the U.S.
Voynov’s five-year contract with the Kings was terminated, but not before the Kings were fined $100,000 for allowing him to practice while under suspension.
The work visa, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, would allow Voynov to apply for reinstatement.
An expungement hearing is scheduled for July 2 in California court to remove the no-contest plea from his record. If that request is granted, he will have no criminal record. That would mean no further immigration problems in the U.S. or Canada. In fact, he’s had a U.S. Visitors’ Visa for at least a year, and, last summer, had some surgery done in Denver.
Even if this all goes through and Voynov gets the courts’ blessing (and subsequent blessings from other entities), it’s hard to think any team in the NHL would want to open its doors to him.
Friedman, however, said there is interest in the right-shot defenseman who is still just 28 years old.
The Kings still own Voynov’s rights as he is on the voluntary retirement list. Any team wanting to sign him will have to make a deal with the Kings.