Ottawa Senators restricted free-agent forward Shane Pinto has been suspended 41 games for activities relating to sports wagering, the NHL announced Thursday.
The league found no evidence that Pinto bet on NHL games.
“The NHL considers this matter closed, absent the emergence of new information, and will have no further comment,” the league said.
Pinto’s suspension is the NHL’s first betting-related ban in the world of online wagering, per The Athletic’s Chris Johnston and Pierre LeBrun.
The 22-year-old hasn’t played a game in the 2023-24 season as he remains unsigned. The suspension began with the first game of the Senators’ season and isn’t dependent on him signing a new contract, sources told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
“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 wrote in a statement. “I take full responsibility for my actions and look forward to getting back on the ice with my team.”
The NHL began investigating Pinto’s actions during the summer, but that process ramped up over the past few weeks and his contract negotiations were put on hold while the league conducted a recent hearing, Friedman added.
The Senators said the hearing concluded Wednesday when “additional information was made available to the club.”
“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,” the organization stated. “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.”
The Senators’ 42nd game of the season is scheduled for Jan. 21 against the Philadelphia Flyers. Since Pinto is not a Group 2 RFA and can’t sign an offer sheet, the usual Dec. 1 signing deadline doesn’t apply to him, according to LeBrun.
Pinto returned home to New York earlier in October, per Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch.
The NHLPA won’t appeal Pinto’s suspension as it was a negotiated resolution between all involved parties, according to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli.
Pinto netted 20 goals and 35 points in 82 games last season. He was limited to five contests in 2021-22 due to a shoulder injury. Ottawa selected him in the second round of the 2019 NHL Draft.