The National Hockey League (NHL) has suspended Shane Pinto for 41 games after the Sens’ center violated its sports wagering rules. Pinto’s suspension is the first time a NHL Player is suspended since the US Supreme Court legalized Sports Gambling in 2018.
“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,” Pinto said in a statement. The suspension starts retroactively from the Ottawa Senators’ first game of the season. Pinto is currently contract-less as a RFA.
“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,” said the Senators in a statement.
There hasn’t been a strict understanding of why the NHL has pulled the wagering clause. According to Ottawa Sun, The NHL was notified by one of its integrity protection partners about Pinto’s American online gambling account. The reason given by The Sun is because of unusual activity.
However, the irony remains. The Senators became the first NHL team to have a betting company as a sponsor on their helmet. Fans have raised concern for this hypocritic decision on NHL’s management side. Shane Pinto, who has 43 points in 99 games with the Senators, was scheduled to play in his fourth NHL season.
Pinto is not a Group 2 RFA because he hasn’t played enough games to qualify for a new deal, which he can sign in January 2024. If such were the case, he would have had until December 1, 2023, to sign a contract.