Ottawa Senators Center Shane Pinto Suspended 41 Games for Violating NHL Gambling Rules

Ottawa Senators Center Shane Pinto Suspended 41 Games for Violating NHL Gambling Rules

This is a fluid situation that will undoubtedly change over the near-term. We will add to this article as new information comes out. This is a potentially precedent setting suspension as Hockey Betting enters the mainstream, while the NHL attempts to gain control of conflicts of interest surrounding this brave new world. 

Shane Pinto is the First NHL Player to be Suspended for Violating the League’s Gambling Policy

Shane Pinto, a 22 year old center and unsigned restricted free agent with the Senators, is facing a 41 game suspension for violating the NHL’s gambling rules according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Friedmen’s original tweet announcing the length and nature of the suspension can be found here

What We Know So Far About Shane Pinto’s Suspension

After an impressive rookie season in which he scored 20 goals and 35 points in Ottawa, contract negotiations between Pinto’s camp and the Senators had stalled over the summer. With no contract in place, Pinto was forced to miss all of training camp along with all 6 of the Senators’ games this season.

The Senators are right up against the NHL salary cap, so many assumed GM Pierre Dorion was pursuing a trade to clear the cap space necessary to sign the promising young player, who was due a significant raise from his entry level contract. We now know that he was waiting for the league to complete a months-long investigation into Pinto’s activity.

Details are still sparse regarding the situation, as the NHL has yet to officially announce the suspension or specify what Pinto did to violate the policy (Friedman pointed out that the league did not specifically accuse Pinto of wagering on NHL games). With the growing economic impact of sports betting in the business of professional sports, leagues have imposed strict policies to protect “the integrity of the game”. My question is, if Pinto is not accused of wagering on sports, what could he have possibly done to compromise that integrity and earn a half-season suspension?

What does pinto’s suspension mean for the senators?

This development also calls into question Pinto’s future with the Senators, who are off to a 3-3-0 start to a season in which they hope to finally emerge from a lengthy rebuild and return to the playoffs. Losing Pinto for that many games (if they even sign him at all) certainly does not help their chances. 

This story will be updated as more details emerge. In the meantime, enjoy this nasty snipe from Pinto since we probably won’t be seeing him on the ice again for a while.

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See all edits to this shane pinto suspension article below

Edit 2:46pm est- update about shane pinto’s suspension from the nhl

 

The NHL’s public relations department (@PR_NHL on Twitter) released a statement officially announcing the suspension, accompanied by statements from the Ottawa Senators and Pinto. All three statements can be found in this press release on the NHL’s website.

Statement from the NHL

“The National Hockey League announced today that it has suspended NHL Player Shane Pinto for 41 games for activities relating to sports wagering.

The League’s investigation found no evidence that Pinto made any wagers on NHL games. 

The NHL considers this matter closed, absent the emergence of new information, and will have no further comment.”

Statement from the Ottawa Senators hockey club

“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.”

statement from shane pinto

“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.”

What can we learn from these statements?

We still don’t have clarity on what Pinto did to violate the league’s sports wagering policy, but the statement from the league does confirm that the investigation found no evidence that pinto made any wagers on NHL games.

The Senators’ statement is incredibly supportive of Pinto, reinforcing their commitment to him and indicating a desire to welcome him back to the organization when the time comes. This bodes well for Senators fans who are still hoping the two parties can come to an agreement on contract terms in the future.

Pinto’s statement simply expresses remorse without providing any additional details relating to the cause of the suspension, but he does take responsibility for his actions which would lead readers to believe he actually did break a rule somewhere along the line.

All three parties seem to be unified by a goal of keeping the details of Pinto’s “activities relating to sports wagering” under wraps. This theory is supported by the fact that the Senators were aware of the investigation while it was taking place, but no member of the organization every leaked this information to the media during a high profile contract negotiation.

Regardless of what Pinto did to earn the suspension, it sets a precedent of merciless disciplinary action for any activity that could be related to sports wagering, even if the player was not wagering on games himself. This 41 game penalty ties the record for longest suspension in NHL history, earned by San Jose Sharks forward Raffi Torres for his illegal check to the head of Jakob Silfverberg during a preseason game back in October of 2015. ESPN covered that suspension, as well as Torres’ history of supplemental discipline in this article. 

Pinto has no history of supplemental discipline in the NHL, and a suspension of this length being imposed on a player with his reputation is completely unheard of. When dealing with the new world of sports betting and maintaining the integrity of the game, I suppose the league can’t be too careful. 

That being said, in my humble opinion I doubt anything Pinto did could ever warrant the same punishment as Torres’ preseason headhunting

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This is an article written by Aaron Kinney

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