BY CORY WOODROOF
The National Hockey League announced a 27-game suspension without pay Wednesday for Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson following his June domestic violence arrest.
“I have determined that Nashville Player Austin Watson engaged in a physical confrontation with his domestic partner,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said via a press 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.”
Watson was arrested in June after he got physical and pushed his girlfriend during an altercation at a Shell station on Murfreesboro Road.
Watson, 26, was arraigned in Williamson County. Per the Home Page’s Brooke Wanser, he plead no contest to the misdemeanor charges of domestic assault and received three months probation and agreed to enter a batterers’ intervention program.
Wanser reported the charges will be dismissed and expunged from Watson’s record if he follows through with all mandated guidelines from his court agreement.
The Nashville Predators issued a statement shortly after the suspension was announced.
“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,” the statement read.
“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.”
NHL insider Pierre LeBurn reported that the National Hockey League Players’ Association plans to appeal the league’s ruling. That hearing could come as early as next week, per LeBurn.
He will be eligible to return on Dec. 3 for the team’s home stand against the Buffalo Sabres if the suspension holds.
For more information on getting help with domestic violence, visit www.FranklinTN.gov/police