June 25th, 2024

Ottawa Senators forward Shane Pinto suspended 41 games by NHL for gambling

By The Canadian Press on October 26, 2023.

Ottawa Senators center Shane Pinto (57) looks to pass during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Rangers, Thursday, March 2, 2023, in New York. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/John Minchillo

NEW YORK – Ottawa Senators forward Shane Pinto has been suspended 41 games by the NHL for “activities relating to sports wagering,” the league announced Thursday.

The NHL said in a statement it found no evidence Pinto made any bets on its games. The league added it “considers this matter closed, absent the emergence of new information.”

The 22-year-old Pinto is an unsigned restricted free agent yet to play this season because of a contract impasse.

Gambling is only mentioned once in the NHL’s 540-page collective bargaining agreement with the NHL Players’ Association – “Gambling on any NHL Game is prohibited.”

The document does, however, empower commissioner Gary Bettman to discipline players for off-ice conduct.

The Senators said in a separate statement the organization was aware of the NHL’s investigation, and was provided “additional information” following the completion of the process Wednesday.

“Shane is a valued member of our hockey club,” the team’s release read. “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 Senators added they “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,” the statement read.

“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.”

Selected by Ottawa in the second round of the 2019 draft, Pinto had 20 goals and 35 points in his first full NHL campaign in 2023-24.

The Franklin Square, N.Y., native, who spent two seasons at the University of North Dakota, has 21 goals and 22 assists for 43 points in 99 career games with the Senators. Pinto missed most of the 2021-22 schedule with a shoulder injury.

“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,” Pinto said in a statement provided by the club.

“I take full responsibility for my actions and look forward to getting back on the ice with my team.”

The NHL, a number of its franchises, and a host of star players – including Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews – have high-profile sponsorship deals with gambling websites.

NHL great Wayne Gretzky has also appeared in betting ads.

Pinto is viewed as an important piece for the Senators as the club’s third-line centre. Ottawa, which is 3-3-0 to start the season, was set to visit the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

The NFL has suspended a handful of players for gambling violations in recent years.

Calvin Ridley, now a receiver with the Jacksonville Jaguars, was banned for the entire 2022 season for betting on games while he was away from football at the tail end of the 2021 schedule.

This report by The Canadian Press on Oct. 26, 2023.

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