NHL suspends Slava Voynov for 2019-20 season

The former Kings defenseman would be eligible to return to the NHL on July 1, 2020.

The NHL issued an update today on the status of defenseman Slava Voynov, who is attempting to return to the NHL after having his contract terminated in 2014 after he was arrested and eventually charged with domestic violence against his wife. (For further details on the charges against Voynov, this article sums them up. Please note the linked piece includes detailed descriptions of spousal violence and also of his wife’s injuries.)

Per the NHL, Voynov is suspended from play for the entirety of the 2019-20 season, including the playoffs, for what the league refers to as “unacceptable off-ice conduct.” He will be eligible to play in the NHL — “assuming good behavior”, the league stipulated — no later than July 1, 2020. The suspension was handed down from Gary Bettman following an investigation by the NHL and an in-person hearing on March 21, 2019.

Voynov, who was listed by the Los Angeles Kings as “voluntarily retired” following the termination of his contract, has been seeking reinstatement to the league for at least the past year. In July 2018, he had his no contest plea expunged from his record, clearing the way for him to ask for reinstatement to the NHL.

The NHLPA issued a statement to The Athletic’s Lisa Dillman, stating that they were “reviewing the decision,” leaving the door open for the Players’ Association to file an appeal on Voynov’s behalf.

Unofficial reports from April 2018 indicate that the Kings are not interested in having Voynov return to the team. While the Kings currently retain Voynov’s rights, reports indicate that Voynov would be a free agent upon his reinstatement on July 1, 2020. For their part, the Kings issued a brief statement today, as well:

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.

UPDATE (April 10, 2019, 3:05 p.m. Pacific):

Pierre LeBrun has confirmed that the NHLPA has filed an appeal on behalf of Voynov.