NHL Drops The Ball On Domestic Violence


The NHL didn’t learn a lesson from what the NFL went through in recent months, and it could cost them dearly.  The very public domestic abuse alleged and proven, in a very short time span, caused a black mark on “the Shield” that had them scrambling, backtracking, apologizing and admitting mistakes that put the league in a bad light.

Well, the NHL isn’t teflon and they should have learned from watching the top pro sports league in North America went through and been more proactive in publicly setting their own domestic violence policy before something happened with someone involved with their league.  There was the allegations against Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov last season, and that should have been a sign that a policy needed to be in place. If that wasn’t, surely watching the NFL faces go red over Commssioner Roger Godell’s inability to get in front of a situation should have been.

Today, the NHL suspended Los Angeles Kings’ defenseman Slava Voynov indefinitely while they investigate domestic abuse allegations.

From TSN.ca:

"The NHL announced the suspension citing Section 18-1.5 of the collective bargaining agreement, which gives it the power to suspend a player during a criminal investigation if failing to do so “would create a substantial risk of material harm to the legitimate interests and/or reputation of the league.”"

Well, that is kind of shutting the door after the horse got out of the barn.  And in the case of the NHL, it is doing so after watching the trouble his neighbor went through by not closing his barn door.  If you get my drift.

If the NHL has been working on a policy, it hasn’t been public.  That is something that should have been done the moment they saw what happened in the NFL (if not what happened with Varlamov last year, where he played the day after he was charged.)

If the NFL case had not been so public, would they have suspended Voynov or let him continue to play as they did Varlamov?  Probably, but the fact that more than a month has passed and there hasn’t been a public peep from the NHL about what their policy is on the issue and how they will deal with it is, quite frankly unacceptable.

They had a chance to get out in front of it, and now they look reactive when the opportunity was there for a policy to be put into place instead of using a blanket sentence in the CBA to cover it.