The NHL determined that Ottawa Senators center Shane Pinto (L) violated the league's gambling policy, but did not find evidence that he bet on NHL games. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 26 (UPI) -- The NHL suspended Ottawa Senators center Shane Pinto for 41 games for violating its sports wagering rules, the league announced Thursday.
Pinto's suspension marks the first time an NHL player has been suspended for gambling since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized sports gambling in 2018.
"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 issued by the Senators. "I take full responsibility for my actions and look forward to getting back on the ice with my team."
The NHL said an investigation found no evidence that Pinto bet on NHL games.
"The NHL considers this matter closed, absent the emergence of new information, and will have no further comment," the NHL said in a news release.
Pinto, 22, was a second-round pick by the Senators in the 2019 NHL Draft. The Franklin Square, N.Y., native made his NHL debut in 2021. Pinto appeared in just 17 games during his first two seasons. He registered 20 goals and 15 assists in 82 games last season for the Senators.
"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 is currently a restricted free agent, but the Senators said they "will welcome him back to the organization and embrace him" again "when the time is right" and "with the league's blessing."
"The Ottawa Senators fully support the NHL's rules on gambling," the Senators said. "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."
The Senators (3-3-0) will face the New York Islanders (2-2-1) at 7:30 p.m. EDT Thursday in Elmont, N.Y.