Slava Voynov began his 90-day jail term this week after he pled “no contest” to charges of “corporal injury to a spouse,” which is a misdemeanor. The defenseman remains suspended by the NHL for the incident and suspended by the Los Angeles Kings for injuring himself during recreational activities, because the Kings apparently have their priorities in order. (Sighs deeply…)
While Voynov’s future in the NHL remains nebulous, it’s clear that he’s going to have a cushioned landing in the Kontinental Hockey League if he chooses that route.
Sergei Gomolyako, general manager of Traktor Chelyabinsk, told TASS in Russia that Voynov would be welcomed back to the team.
“He’s a Chelyabinsk hockey player and his rights belong to our club,” he said, as translated by Geneen Pipher of VIP Hockey Magazine. “[Voynov] is a great defenseman and a two-time Stanley Cup winner, how could I not offer him a job?
“We’ve always supported [him] via the press — both in difficult situations and by sharing his success with him. We have not gotten in touch with him personally, of course, but we’d like to express our support to him again and to say that in spite of what has happened we are waiting for him [after his jail term].”
Traktor head coach Andrei Nikolishin, a former NHL player, agreed but doesn’t believe Voynov will have to move back to Russia to continue his career: “I don’t think his career will move in such a way that he will return to Russia.”
Not everyone in Russia is overlooking Voynov’s sins.
Slava Fetisov – Hockey Hall of Famer, former KHL official and current senator – told TASS that Voynov “got off light.”
“[Voynov] laid hands on a woman and he has to answer for it. And it will be a lesson for everyone. I could never let myself hit a woman in my life and I never will.”
As for his future prospects, Fetisov said it is unclear how this incident will affect Voynov’s career but suggested other players should learn from his mistakes. “It is difficult to tell if [the incident] influences his further career or not,” he said. “I can only assume Voynov will continue playing in the United States, but I don’t know his plans. He must draw the right conclusions and go through this serious test [first].”
This, by the way, unofficially puts Fetisov at odds with the Kings, who felt Voynov’s punishment was “fair and just” rather than “light.”
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