Slava Voynov in 2012, during the Stanley Cup Finals. Photo by Lisa Gansky/CC-BY-SA-2.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
Slava Voynov in 2012, during the Stanley Cup Finals. Photo by Lisa Gansky/CC-BY-SA-2.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, who served jail time for spousal abuse and was then detained by federal immigration authorities, announced Wednesday he plans to cut ties with the team and return to Russia.

The 25-year-old Voynov pleaded no contest in July to a misdemeanor charge of corporal injury to a spouse stemming from an October 2014 fight with his wife that led to his suspension by the National Hockey League. Superior Court Judge Eric C. Taylor sentenced Voynov to 90 days in jail, a yearlong domestic violence course, eight hours of community service and three years of probation.

Voynov served his time at a jail in Seal Beach. Upon his release on Sept. 2, he was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Federal officials said Voynov was in the United States on a “temporary visa for internationally recognized athletes.”

He is awaiting a hearing before a federal immigration judge, but he announced Wednesday his plans to leave the country voluntarily.

“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 a statement released through his attorney. “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 LA Kings success in the future.”

The Kings issued a statement saying that while Voynov was in custody, the team decided to cut ties with the defenseman.

“The method by which we would ensure this outcome was something we carefully considered and we established a deadline of Sept. 17 — the beginning of our 2015-16 training camp — to reach this outcome,” according to the team. “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.”

— City News Service 

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