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Senators centre Shane Pinto suspended for 41 games by NHL


Ottawa Senators free agent centre Shane Pinto has been suspended by the NHL for 41 games for "activities relating to sports wagering," the NHL has announced.

Pinto, who missed the first six games of the NHL season as he continued contract talks with the Senators, is the first modern-day NHL player suspended for sports wagering.

"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 released by the Senators.

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

The National Hockey League released few details about its investigation and the suspension for Pinto on Thursday afternoon, only saying it was “for activities relating to sports wagering.”

"The league’s investigation found no evidence that Pinto made any wagers on NHL games. The NHL considers this matter closed."

The NHL said it will have no further comment on the suspension. The collective bargaining agreement for the NHL/NHLPA states, "gambling on any NHL game is prohibited."

In a statement, the Ottawa Senators said it was "saddened to learn" of the issue, but remains committed to Pinto.

"We were made aware of the National Hockey League investigation into this matter and additional information was made available to the club upon the completion of the league’s investigation yesterday,” the Senators said.

"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."

Pinto, a restricted free agent, missed the Senators first six games of the season while continuing contract negotiations with the club. The 22-year-old centre scored 20 goals and added 35 points last season.

Postmedia hockey columnist Bruce Garrioch reported the Senators rescinded all previous contract offers to Pinto.

Senators head coach DJ Smith told reporters on Thursday in New York that the organization is behind Pinto "100 per cent."

"We'll be here for him, we'll offer him any support that he needs, and we'll welcome him back with absolute open arms," Smith said. "I know the staff loves him, I know the players love him -- the city, the organization. We'll do everything we can."

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

The Senators became the first NHL team to add a gambling-related entity as a helmet sponsor with Bet99 in 2021. Their home helmets feature the logo for Betway, an international gambling company.

The last NHL players suspended for gambling before Pinto were Billy Taylor, Don Gallinger and Babe Pratt back in the 1940s.

With files from The Canadian Press

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