LA Kings' Slava Voynov Suspended by NHL Pending Domestic Violence Investigation

The 24-year-old was arrested Monday morning on suspicion of domestic violence, according to an NHL statement

The National Hockey League took swift action Monday in response to the arrest of Los Angeles King Slava Voynov, suspending the 24-year-old defenseman indefinitely pending a domestic violence investigation.

Voynov was 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," according to a statement from the NHL.

The league's collective bargaining agreement allows for the suspension of a player during a criminal investigation. Details regarding the arrest and investigation were not immediately available, but the league's action came just hours after Voynov's arrest, which occurred Monday at about 2 a.m. in Redondo Beach, Los Angeles County Jail records show.

Police told NBC4 they arrested Voynov at Little Company of St. Mary Hospital in Torrance after medical personnel contacted authorities regarding a victim who was the subject of a domestic violence call.

"The injury was severe enough that it did require treatment," said Lt Joe Hoffman, of the Redondo Beach Police Department.

Redondo Beach officers intially responded to the neighborhood where Voynov and his family live after a caller reported that a female "could be heard screaming for the past 20 minutes," according to a police department statement. The caller directed officers to the house from which the sounds were heard, but police received no response after attempting to contact the home's occupants.

Torrance police later contacted Redondo Beach police regarding the hospitalized woman.

Voynov posted $50,000 bail around 8 a.m. and his first court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 1 in Torrance.

"We're still investigating with the police," Voynov attorney Craig Renetzky told the Associated Press. "It's very early on in the proceedings. We're just asking everybody to be patient, because arrests don't always lead to charges and convictions."

Voynov, named to the 2014 Russian Olympic hockey team, was drafted by the Kings in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He is in the second of a six-year contract with the 2014 Stanley Cup champions and one of four Kings to play in all 82 games last season.

The team issued a statement Monday morning: "These developments are of great concern to our organization.  We support the NHL's decision to suspend Slava Voynov indefinitely during this process, and we will continue to take appropriate action as the legal proceedings and the investigation by the NHL take their course."

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The case follows other recent domestic violence investigations that involved high-profile professional athletes, including NFL running back Ray Rice. The Rice case and video of the assault in a casino elevator led to a new NFL policy regarding domestic violence offenders.

Unlike the NFL and NBA, the NHL and Major League Baseball do not have policies specific to domestic violence. Penalties are usually handed out at the discretion of the commissioner on a case-by-case basis.

The NHL's immediate action in the Voynov case stands in contrast to its handling last season of a domestic violence investigation involving Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov, who was not suspended and continued playing with the team during the investigation.

Charges in that case were eventually dropped.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly addressed the two cases in an email Monday to The Hockey News.

"I think the landscape has changed for all of us over the past six months," Daly said in the email. "But that's not the only reason for the difference in treatment. Circumstances were different in Varlamov. I can’t get more specific than that."

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was asked about the league's response to domestic violence issues in a USA Today article published at the start of this season.

"(Domestic violence prevention) is something we've been doing with the Players' Association for more than a decade," Bettman told USA Today in the Oct. 8 article. "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 counseling and education with the Players Association. The NHL’s Security Department does that each year in its meetings with each team."

Under Section 18-A.5 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NHL can suspend a 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 had an assist in the Kings' win Sunday at Staples Center over the Minnesota Wild. The Kings' next game is Thursday at Staples Center against Buffalo.

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