Slava Voynov (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)
Slava Voynov has announced he will be leaving the NHL and returning to Russia. In a statement Wednesday, the 25-year-old defenseman said he has informed the league, NHLPA and Kings of his decision. The Kings also announced it was their intention to terminate Voynov’s contract with the team.
Defenseman Slava Voynov has decided to leave the Los Angeles Kings and the NHL and return to Russia.
Wednesday evening, Voynov, 25, announced he will not continue his career in the NHL and has informed the league of his decision. Voynov’s future in the NHL was in question following his no contest plea in July to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge stemming from an October 2014 arrest.
“Earlier today, I notified the National Hockey League, the National Hockey League Players’ Association and the Los Angeles Kings of my decision to immediately begin the formal process of returning to Russia with my family,” Voynov said in the statement. “I sincerely apologize to those in and around the game of hockey, who have been affected by my situation, and I also wish the players of the Los Angeles Kings success in the future.”
Shortly after Voynov made his announcement, the Kings followed suit by making an announcement of their own, stating it was their intention to terminate Voynov’s contract regardless of his decision.
“On July 2, Slava Voynov entered a plea of no contest to domestic violence,” the statement reads. “Since that development, Mr. Voynov has been in the custody of the Seal Beach Detention Center and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. During this period of detention, the Los Angeles Kings decided he would no longer play for the team. The method by which we would ensure this outcome was something we carefully considered and we established a deadline of September 17 – the beginning of our 2015-16 training camp – to reach this outcome. Recently it became evident to us that our conclusion to this process would be to terminate Mr. Voynov’s Standard Player’s Contract. However, Mr. Voynov’s announcement today of his intention to leave the United States and return to Russia makes the termination unnecessary.”
Voynov was suspended by the NHL pending a league investigation on Oct. 20, the same day as his arrest by Redondo Beach, Calif., police.
Voynov was scheduled to begin trial on July 6, but reached a deal and entered no contest plea on July 2. Following his plea, Voynov was sentenced to 90-days in jail. On July 7, he entered the Seal Beach Police Detention Center in California, a facility which Voynov paid $100 per day to stay at. Upon his release from the detention center, Voynov was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and was held at an unspecified detention facility.
He was set to be held at the facility until a hearing with an immigration judge but, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman, it’s not clear at this time whether Voynov has had such a hearing. No bond had been set for Voynov’s release because of the nature of his offense.
According to Dillman, Russia will have to provide documentation that Voynov is allowed to return to the country before Voynov can be granted his release to Russia. There is no timeline, however, on when exactly Voynov will be permitted to return to Russia.