NEW YORK (AP) — Slava Voynov is appealing the suspension imposed by the NHL after it determined he committed acts of domestic violence.
Jonathan Weatherdon, a spokesman for the NHL Players’ Association, said Wednesday that the organization had filed an appeal on behalf of Voynov. Players have the right to appeal suspensions to a neutral arbitrator, though a hearing date has not yet been set.
Commissioner Gary Bettman suspended Voynov on Tuesday for the 2019-20 season and 2020 playoffs for what the league called unacceptable off-ice conduct. The 29-year-old Russian could have his eligibility restored on July 1, 2020, based on good behavior.
Voynov was suspended indefinitely in October 2014 after being arrested and accused of abusing his wife. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor, left the United States to go back to Russia and in July had the conviction dismissed by a judge in Los Angeles. He has applied to be reinstated by the NHL.
The NHL conducted an investigation and held a hearing March 21 under the terms of the collective-bargaining agreement regarding the Oct. 19, 2014, incident involving Voynov and his wife. Bettman said he determined after that investigation and hearing that Voynov engaged in acts of domestic violence.
Nashville forward Austin Watson was suspended 27 games in September for unacceptable off-ice conduct following an investigation and hearing after he pleaded no contest in July to a charge of domestic assault stemming from an incident in June. Arbitrator Shyam Das reduced the suspension to 18 games on appeal.
The NHL suspended former Kings defenseman Slava Voynov through the 2019-20 season (both the regular season and playoffs) for “unacceptable off-ice conduct.” However, the league also revealed that “Voynov’s eligibility to play in the NHL will be restored (assuming good behavior) no later than July 1, 2020.”
That “unacceptable off-ice conduct” stems from Voynov’s domestic assault arrest in October 2014, which prompted an indefinite suspension at the time. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman described “acts of domestic violence directed at [Voynov’s] wife,” Marta Varlamova, in the league’s statement.
“I have determined that Player Slava Voynov engaged in acts of domestic violence directed at his wife,” Bettman wrote. “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.”
Statement from the Kings on Voynov: “We are reviewing the NHL’s recent decision on Slava Voynov. It is premature for us to comment until we understand what today’s decision, which can be appealed, means in its entirety.”
After leaving the U.S. while facing possible deportation related to his domestic assault charges, Voynov spent the 2015-16 through 2017-18 seasons with St. Petersburg SKA of the KHL. Voynov won a gold medal with Russia during the 2018 Winter Olympics, and had hoped to return to the NHL during the 2018-19 season. Voynov was photographed with Vladimir Putin after winning that gold medal:
Voynov applied for reinstatement back in November 2018, prompting what the league deemed “a fairly comprehensive investigation.”
(Consider this a content warning, as this information can be graphic.)
Court documents detail how the fight continued when the two arrived home and the contents are equally grim. In one motion, filed on behalf of the District Attorney’s office, it states that Voynov “wrapped both of his hands around Ms. Varlamova’s neck and began to squeeze, making it difficult for her to breathe.” Voynov, according to the motion, “continued to choke her while repeatedly pushing her to the floor of the bedroom,” telling her to “get out,” that there would be “no more money for her,” and that she would be “gone.”
These clubs should also know that Varlamova’s seven-year-old daughter was reportedly at home at the time of the incident, and apparently, it did not end there.
PHT will monitor this situation for updates, which might see a decision from the NHLPA regarding an appeal.
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.
So July 2 is the date when Slava Voynov (he's in US now) can apply for a US work visa #LAKings
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.
Voynov released a statement via his agent, Rolland Hedges, sharing the stunning (yet perhaps foreseeable?) decision:
“Earlier today, I notified the National Hockey League, National Hockey League Players’ Association and the Los Angeles Kings of my decision to immediately begin the formal process of returning to Russia with my family. I sincerely apologize to those in and around the game of hockey who have been affected by my situation, and I also wish the players of the LA Kings success in the future.”
The OC Register’s Rich Hammond reports that this decision may allow Voynov to return to North America at some point in the future:
I was told, by an immigration attorney, that self-deportation leaves open the possibility Voynov could return years later on new visa.
Slava Voynov has been moved from jail to an unspecified detention facility by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Voynov, who is a Russian citizen, will have a hearing with an immigration judge, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Times reported that the Los Angeles Kings have declined to comment on this latest development.
Voynov began his jail sentence on July 7 after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge.
The 25-year-old defenseman hasn’t played in the NHL since Oct. 6 because he was suspended by the league.
He has also been recovering from a ruptured Achilles, but LA Kings Insider stated back in July, “the expectation, based on multiple conversations with those in hockey operations, is that he’ll be a part of the blue line when he recovers from a ruptured Achilles. There are still major impediments in the way of him putting on a Kings jersey again.”
Los Angeles lost defensemen Andrej Sekera as an unrestricted free agent this summer and Robyn Regehr has retired, but the Kings did sign Christian Ehrhoff to a one-year, $1.5 million deal.