Ottawa Senators center Shane Pinto has become the first NHL player to be disciplined for sports gambling activities. The NHL suspended Pinto for 41 games, the league announced Thursday.
The NHL went on to say that its investigation “found no evidence that Pinto made any wagers on NHL games.” So, exactly what Pinto’s behavior was that brought the suspension remains unclear.
The NFL has suspended players for betting on NFL games, and for making wagers that would not have broken league rules except that the gambling activity occurred at a team facility. It’s not clear what the specific circumstances are in the case of Pinto, a 22-year-old forward from New York state.
Canada’s most populous province, the home of the Senators, has had legal, regulated Ontario sports betting and online casinos since April 2022.
Senators Statement On Pinto
The Senators made a long statement regarding Pinto. The team said: “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 (Wednesday).
“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. 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 Ottawa Senators news statement concluded.
Pinto’s suspension is retroactive to Game 1 of the 2023-24 season. So far in his NHL career, the second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft has played in 99 games, scoring 22 goals and adding 21 assists. He played in 82 games last season with 20 goals and 15 assists. He has not played this season.
“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 was quoted as saying in the league statement announcing his suspension. “I take full responsibility for my actions and look forward to getting back on the ice with my team.”
The NHL said it considers the matter closed.