You may have heard that former Kings defenseman Slava Voynov had a hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court to get his record expunged so he can return to the NHL. What he wanted done was to erase that he pleaded no contest to beating his wife, eventually serving nearly two months in jail and foregoing any further discipline by returning to his native Russia. He won his case today and now the NHL needs to figure out how to handle this situation.
The NHL currently has no policy regarding players being convicted of or accused of domestic abuse.
Katie Strang wrote at length about Voynov’s case in an previously unlocked Athletic article. It’s a disheartening read but thorough, so read it if and when you can. Emily Kaplan also wrote up the main points and compared how he would be treated under other leagues domestic abuse policies.
There were rumors that Montreal was interested in gaining Voynov’s rights. It may have been gossip or it might have been a decision that was changed when the optics seemed bad.
On Slava Voynov. His rights are still owned by the Kings and reports that the Canadiens and the Kings had trade talks regarding him are not accurate, according to multiple sources. Conclusion: he’ll never play in Montreal.
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) June 28, 2018
Journalists are urging their local teams to stay away.
Slava Voynov is an available, talented, top-four, right-handed shot and the Blackhawks should stay far the hell away. Everyone should.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) July 2, 2018
According to Kaplan’s article, the NHL never conducted an investigation into the incident, preferring instead to allow the legal stuff shake out. Now, with no record of the abuse or without a specific policy, Voynov could potentially be brought back into the NHL fold. We have to rely on the duo of Bill Daly and Gary Bettman to do the right thing.
Don’t let Slava Voynov back in the NHL. Don’t do it.