Sept. 12 (UPI) — The National Hockey League has suspended Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson for the first 27 games of the 2018-19 regular season.
The league announced Watson’s ban for “unacceptable off-ice conduct” on Wednesday. He is ineligible for all preseason games and will not be paid during the suspension.
“I have determined that Nashville Player Austin Watson engaged in a physical confrontation with his domestic partner,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a news release.
“Today’s ruling, while tailored to the specific facts of this case and the individuals involved, is necessary and consistent with the NHL’s strongly held view that it cannot and will not tolerate this and similar types of conduct.”
Bettman’s ruling came after a league investigation and an in-person hearing on Sept. 7 in New York.
“The investigation and hearing were conducted, pursuant to the CBA, to determine the relevant facts and circumstances relating to a June 16, 2018, incident involving Austin Watson and his domestic partner,” the NHL said. “The incident ultimately resulted in Watson pleading no contest to a charge of domestic assault on July 24, 2018.”
Watson, 26, had 14 goals and five assists in 76 games last season for the Predators. The domestic assault charge stemmed from an incident that occurred in June while he was at a gas station with his girlfriend, according to the Nashville Tennessean and ESPN. Watson admitted to pushing her, according to an affidavit.
He was released on $4,500 bond after being arrested on June 16.