NHL Fines Kings for Allowing Banned Player to Practice

The defending champion Los Angeles Kings were fined $100,000 by the National Hockey League for allowing defenseman Slava Voynov to skate with the team while serving an indefinite suspension.

Voynov’s participation in practice yesterday violated the terms of his ban that followed a domestic violence arrest in October, the NHL said in an e-mailed statement. The 24-year-old Russian was charged Nov. 20 in the altercation that injured his wife.

“This was clearly a mistake on our part and we accept full responsibility,” the Kings said in a statement posted on the team’s website. “It is incumbent upon us to be more vigilant in managing this situation to ensure that Slava’s allowable training activities always remain separate from the team.”

Voynov was suspended indefinitely on Oct. 20, pending a league investigation into his arrest. The terms of the suspension say that Voynov is allowed to use club facilities and work with team personnel, but can’t participate in any team-related functions, according to the NHL.

When it announced Voynov’s suspension, the NHL cited a section of its collective bargaining agreement that says a player involved in a criminal investigation can be suspended pending a formal league review when a failure to issue discipline “would create a substantial risk of material harm to the legitimate interests and/or reputation of the league.”

Voynov is accused of attacking his wife during an Oct. 19 fight at their home in Redondo Beach, California, according to a Nov. 20 statement from the Los Angeles County District Attorney. She suffered injuries to her eyebrow, cheek and neck that required medical attention at a local hospital, according to the statement.

Maintains Innocence

Voynov faces one felony count of corporal injury to a spouse with great bodily injury, according to the district attorney’s statement. Voynov two days ago entered a not guilty plea, his lawyer, Craig Renetzky, said in a phone call yesterday.

“Voynov absolutely maintains his innocence and looks forward to clearing his name in court,” Renetzky said Nov. 20 in a phone interview.

In four NHL seasons, all with the Kings, Voynov has 18 goals, 81 points and 72 penalty minutes. Last year he played in all 82 games for the Kings, who won the Stanley Cup finals against the New York Rangers.

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