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Slava Voynov, In Immigration Custody, Says He Will Voluntarily Return To Russia

Two weeks ago Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov completed a 90-day sentence (though he ultimately served just under 60 days) after pleading no contest to domestic violence charges. Upon his release from jail, Voynov was immediately scooped into custody by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, pending a hearing in front of an immigration judge.

Voynov, a Russian citizen, faces the threat of being deported for being convicted of a violent crime. But that process could take months, if not years, because of an overload of immigration cases. It now appears Voynov is attempting to short circuit that process and self-deport, according to a statement from his lawyer:

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. I sincerely apologize to those in and around the game of hockey, who have been affected by my situation, and I also with the Players of the LA Kings success in the future.


Immediately afterward the Kings—who were fined $100,000 for circumventing league rules and trying to sneak Voynov into practice after he was suspended—released their own statement that basically said “hey, totally coincidentally, we were going to terminate his contract tomorrow but now don’t have to.”

On July 2, Slava Voynov entered a plea of no contest to domestic violence. Since that development, Mr. Voynov has been in the custody of the Seal Beach Detention Center and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. During this period of detention, the Los Angeles Kings decided he would no longer play for the team. The method by which we would ensure this outcome was something we carefully considered and we established a deadline of September 17 – the beginning of our 2015-16 training camp – to reach this outcome. 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.


Photo via Harry How/Getty


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