For the first time in modern NHL history, a player has been suspended for an alleged violation of the league’s gambling policy.
The league announced Pinto has been suspended for 41 games in the 2023-24 season for violations of the NHL’s gambling rules.
How Pinto violated the policy is yet unclear, and his situation in the league at present makes the suspension interesting. He is currently an unsigned, restricted free agent with the Senators, meaning he is currently on the FA market, but Ottawa can match any offer from another team extended to Pinto.
The 22-year-old had a breakout 2022-23 season, scoring 20 goals with 15 assists in 82 games. He had a plus-minus of minus-21, and was seventh on the Senators in points.
Here’s everything you need to know about Pinto’s suspension.
Why did the NHL suspend Shane Pinto?
It was not immediately clear how Pinto violated the gambling policy, which relative to other sports is much more black and white. In the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, the policy on gambling is succinct: “Gambling on any NHL game is prohibited.”
The league simply said that he was suspended for “activities relating to sports wagering,” but said there was no evidence he wagered on NHL games.
Multiple outlets reported an online gambling company detected unusual activity on Pinto’s account and contacted the league.
League sources say Pinto’s online gambling account in the United States was flagged by a company that is a partner of the league because of unusual activity and it contacted the NHL’s head office recently. #Sens
More here https://t.co/jRFuKA2drI
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) October 26, 2023
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported a memo in March 2022 said commissioner Gary Bettman has the ability to “discipline individuals determined to have engaged in improper gambling activities in any or all of the following respects:” expulsion or suspension, cancelling contracts or imposing fines.
How long is Shane Pinto suspended?
Pinto is suspended for 41 games, which is exactly half of the NHL’s 82-game season. Though Pinto has been an RFA to begin the year, Friedman reported the suspension began with the Senators’ first game of the season and “is not dependent on him signing a contract.”
NFL players have been largely in the spotlight for gambling violations in recent years. Calvin Ridley was suspended for a year for betting on NFL games. Jameson Williams was suspended for six games, just over one-third of the season, for betting on college football games while inside the Lions’ practice facility.
NHL gambling policy
The NHL’s gambling policy is not overly extensive. It simply reads that “Gambling on any NHL game is prohibited,” and there is no further mention of it in the collective bargaining agreement.
Since Pinto is not believed to have bet on NHL games, it’s not clear what he did to merit being suspended for half the season.
What have Shane Pinto, Senators said about his suspension?
We were made aware of the National Hockey League investigation into this matter and additional information was made available to the club upon the completion of the league’s investigation yesterday.
Shane is a valued member of our hockey club; an engaging, intelligent young man who made poor decisions that have resulted in a suspension by the National Hockey League. We know he is remorseful for his mistakes.
The Ottawa Senators fully support the NHL’s rules on gambling. While saddened to learn of this issue, the entire organization remains committed to Shane and will work together to do what is necessary to help provide the support to allow him to address his issues and become a strong contributor to our community.
When the time is right and with the league’s blessing, we will welcome him back to the organization and embrace him as one of our own.
I want to apologize to the National Hockey League, the Ottawa Senators, my teammates, the fans and city of Ottawa and most importantly my family. I take full responsibility for my actions and look forward to getting back on the ice with my team.
Shane Pinto contract details
Pinto is a restricted free agent with the Senators, meaning that while any team can offer him a contract, Ottawa can match any offer sent his way to keep him from leaving the organization. If he is unsigned by Dec. 1, he will become an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any team.
Friedman reported there is a belief the investigation and Ottawa’s secrecy regarding the investigation is a reason Pinto has not requested a trade from the organization.
Source : ESPN.com