By Ellen Chlumecky
On Monday morning, Salva Voynov of the Los Angeles Kings was arrested on a case of domestic violence and has been suspended indefinitely from the Kings. They are waiting on a formal investigation by the NHL. The Police Department that arrested Voynov is expected to meet with the Los Angeles Country District Attorney’s office at some point this week.
While the details are still hazy on the next steps to occur to Voynov, the NHL made the clear decision to suspend him indefinitely. While the NHL has not responded as quickly or as appropriately in the past with certain cases such as Seymon Varlamov where they continued to let him travel and play with the Colorado Avalanche while his case was being tried through the judicial system. With the course of action currently being taken with Voynov it looks as though the NHL wants to improve their methods of discipline.
Gary Bettman stated that the league had been working with the union on the policy for over a decade to improve their policies. He stated that their main focus for the league is counseling and education. The NHL has a joint program with the Players Association and they provide counseling and educating on domestic violence for more than a decade. The security department holds annual meetings with each individual team. They not only talk about domestic violence but hold substance abuse programs, behavioral health programs, and programs targeting counseling and educating the players on many other issues.
With the recent problems happening in the NFL recently, the NHL clearly needs to show the sports world they can handle their problems with a firm, steady hand. The NHL has the opportunity to show their fans and other spectators that they will not stand for this kind of behavior in their athletes.
Voynov is currently suspended, but after the trial the NHL needs to seriously look into removing Voynov from the league whether or not he was pronounced guilty. By removing a player who was involved in this situation shows the dedication to removing this kind of behavior from the league. The NFL is receiving all kinds of slack for their lack of action with these behavioral problems and domestic violence instances. The NHL needs to act quickly and show the rest of the sports world that this type of problem should not be welcome on teams. When any future players see problems like this in the media, they shouldn’t aspire to be like these players which is why action to remove players like this is the best plan in the long run.