According to a NHL announcement, Austin Watson has been placed in Stage Two of the joint NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program “for treatment related exclusively to his ongoing issues with alcohol abuse.”
This stage of the SABH Program mandates immediate suspension without pay until the player receiving treatment is cleared by persons involved with the program to return to play.
The Nashville Predators released the following statement in response:
The Nashville Predators are saddened and disappointed for Austin Watson and his family as he enters the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program for alcohol-related treatment. We are grateful for the NHL and NHLPA’s program and will cooperate in any way necessary as we continue to support Austin and his family as they go through this difficult time. Because of the personal nature of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program and our exclusive focus on Austin and his family’s well-being, there will be no further comment on this matter.