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NHL Suspends Austin Watson for 27 Games

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Gary Bettman states that the NHL “cannot and will not tolerate this and similar types of conduct.”

NHL: Nashville Predators at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced this afternoon that Predators forward Austin Watson—who was arrested for domestic assault in June and pled no contest to the charge in July—would be suspended for the preseason and the first 27 games (one-third) of the regular season.

Gary Bettman’s full statement was as follows:

I have determined that Nashville Player Austin Watson engaged in a physical confrontation with his domestic partner. 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.

The Predators have also released a statement on the suspension:

The Nashville Predators supported and worked closely with the National Hockey League investigation regarding Austin Watson. During his suspension, we wish Austin, Jenn and their baby the best as they take the necessary steps to move forward, with the support of the Nashville Predators, the NHL, the NHLPA, and all the collective resources they can provide. Our commitment to AMEND is the same today as it was when we partnered six years ago with the mission of making Nashville the safest city for girls and women. We will continue to evolve and grow our programming to work toward this shared objective.

The NHLPA says it will file an appeal on Watson’s behalf.