“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 released by his agent, Rolland Hedges.
“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 L.A. Kings success in the future.”
Voynov pleaded no contest in July to a misdemeanor charge of corporal injury to a spouse, his wife Marta Varlamova. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three months of probation; he spent two months in jail before his release on Sept. 3 into the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
On Sept. 8, ICE authorities confirmed to a Russia news service they wanted to deport Voynov, explaining their motive to detain him after his jail sentence was served.
The Kings also released a statement on Wednesday night, saying they had previously decided Voynov would no longer play for the team.
“On July 2, Slava Voynov entered a plea of no contest to domestic violence,” the Kings’ statement began. “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.
“As we have publicly stated since Mr. Voynov’s arrest last year, the Kings organization will not tolerate domestic violence. As part of that commitment, we will soon announce a series of new Conduct Awareness Training Initiatives that reflect the values and principles central to our franchise.”
The Kings suspended Voynov in June following the NHL’s indefinite suspension in October after Voynov’s arrest. He was arraigned in December on a felony domestic violence charge and pleaded not guilty.
A police report obtained by the Los Angeles Times in February stated “Voynov pushed [Varlamova] to the ground approximately six to seven times with both hands, telling her that he wanted a divorce and to ‘Get out.’” Varlamova received eight stitches to close a cut over her eye, according to the report.
Voynov sustained a non-hockey injury earlier in the year and had surgery in March to repair a torn Achilles tendon.
Voynov played in all 82 games for the Kings in 2013–2014 and in six last season before his arrest.
- Mike Fiammetta