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Jets' Pavelec banned from driving in Czech Republic for 20 months

Winnipeg Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31) led the team to much needed victory over the Buffalo Sabres' during NHL hockey action in Winnipeg, Monday, March 5, 2012. Pavelec has been banned from driving for 20 months in his native Czech Republic after being found guilty of drunk driving. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Trevor Hagan

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Winnipeg Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31) led the team to much needed victory over the Buffalo Sabres' during NHL hockey action in Winnipeg, Monday, March 5, 2012. Pavelec has been banned from driving for 20 months in his native Czech Republic after being found guilty of drunk driving. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Trevor Hagan

PRAGUE - Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec has been banned from driving for 20 months in his native Czech Republic after being found guilty of drunk driving.

The 24-year-old Pavelec also received a six-month suspended prison sentence for causing a traffic accident May 26 in his hometown of Kladno, west of the capital Prague.

Pavelec hit a car with his BMW. There were no injuries.

Judge Ivo Postulka, who pronounced the sentence in a court in Kladno on Tuesday, said the driving ban will go into effect July 10 and will be enforced in the Czech Republic only.

"I'm disappointed in myself for this error in judgment," Pavelec said in a statement released by the Jets. "I'm thankful no one was injured as a result of my actions. I want to sincerely apologize to our fans, the Winnipeg Jets organization, and to my teammates for any embarrassment this has caused. I'm truly sorry for letting you all down."

Pavelec signed a new five-year contract with Jets in June.

"The organization was deeply disappointed to learn of this information (Monday) and is fully aware of the seriousness of this matter," the team said in a statement. "We will determine our course of action once we have the chance to meet and discuss with Ondrej in person, which we expect to do at the earliest possible opportunity."

Pavelec's sentencing comes a week before Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien is slated to stand trial in Minneapolis on charges including impaired boating.

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