The National Hockey League handed down a stringent penalty to Ottawa Senators’ free agent centre Shane Pinto, imposing a 41-game suspension for his involvement in sports wagering. This is an unprecedented action in the current era, since Pinto is the first player in the modern NHL to face suspension for such activities.
Pinto, who was in the midst of contract negotiations with the Senators, had been absent from the first six matches of the season. Following the announcement, he was quick to accept responsibility for his actions. “I offer my sincerest apologies to the National Hockey League, Ottawa Senators, my colleagues, supporters, the city of Ottawa and, above all, my family,” Pinto expressed, promising to make amends and return to the ice.
The NHL disclosed very few details about the internal investigation leading up to Pinto’s suspension. However, the organization asserted that no evidence was found suggesting Pinto had bet on NHL games, and considers the matter concluded.
Given the unfolding of events, the Ottawa Senators issued a statement about their awareness of the investigation and reinforced their support for Pinto. They acknowledged his infractions and his remorse over his misguided decisions.
Pinto, a valuable asset to the Senators, displayed impressive skills in the last season, scoring 20 goals and contributing 35 points. He missed the opening six games of the season due to ongoing contract discussions.
The Senators rescinded all previous contract offers to Pinto, according to reports from Postmedia hockey columnist Bruce Garrioch. Despite this, the team’s head coach DJ Smith assured Pinto of the full support of the organization, promising to welcome him back wholeheartedly.
It is interesting to note that the NHL, some of its franchises, and several star players, inclusive of Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews, have active sponsorship deals with gambling websites. The Senators themselves broke new ground in the NHL by partnering with a gambling-related entity, Bet99, as a helmet sponsor just last year.
Interestingly, the last occurrence of NHL players facing suspensions for gambling dates back to the 1940s, involving Billy Taylor, Don Gallinger, and Babe Pratt before this recent incident with Pinto.
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