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Avs' Valeri Nichushkin suspended for 6 months without pay as part of NHL Player Assistance Program

Avalanche Stars Hockey
Posted at 6:46 PM, May 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 00:39:20-04

NEW YORK — Colorado Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin has been suspended for six months without pay as part of the Player Assistance Program, the National Hockey League (NHL) announced Monday.

The announcement was released just one hour before puck drop for Game 4 of the Avs-Dallas Stars series.

In its announcement, the NHL said Nichushkin has been placed in Stage 3 of the Player Assistance Program. The program is a joint venture between the NHL and NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) to help those who are battling alcohol and substance abuse, addiction, and mental health struggles.

Stage 3 means he violated the terms of the program, according to the Associated Press. Nichushkin previously entered the program at the beginning of the year and returned to the ice in March. He also missed five games of last year's playoff series against the Seattle Kraken due to personal reasons.

Under the terms of the program, Nichushkin will be suspended without pay for a minimum of six months and will be eligible to apply for reinstatement, the NHL said.

Nichushkin has been instrumental for the Avs in this playoff run. He is currently tied for the NHL playoff lead with nine goals in eight games. He recorded his first career hat trick during Game 4 of the previous playoff series against the Winnipeg Jets.