Ottawa Senators forward Shane Pinto is looking to return to action soon after a lengthy suspension and claims he has learned from his mistakes.
The 23-year-old is back in the Ottawa organization but will have to wait four more games before returning to the National League. Pinto was suspended for 41 games because of a sports betting scandal.
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On Friday he met the media for the first time since this saga began.
“It was a very long offseason. I made the most of it,” Pinto said. I feel really good in my body. I have matured a lot in the last few months. “I’ve grown a lot off the ice and I think that will help me on the ice.”
“Life can change in an instant, no matter what you do,” he also said. Sometimes you take for granted how lucky you are and how quickly it can be taken away from you. I learned that pretty quickly and I’ve said it a million times: It gives me a better appreciation for hockey.”
“I won’t take it for granted.”
Pinto declined to elaborate on the reasons for his suspension.
“I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I was honestly a little surprised,” he said. It came out of nowhere.”
The American explained that he had received numerous calls from other Bettman Tour players wanting to know why he was suspended so they wouldn't make the same mistake.
The hockey player was therefore very surprised to have violated the league's guidelines. The sanction imposed also hurt him a lot.
“It honestly broke my heart,” Pinto revealed. This sport is very close to my heart. I put so much time and effort into it. It’s hard to hear when you’re told you can’t play anymore.”
“First you're in shock, then you rely on the people around you to get through it. I don't think I would have made it without my family, my friends and my boys who checked on me often. It was really hard, but now I’m here and I’m excited.”
Not only does Pinto have to wait four more games before returning, but he also has to sign a contract. He is actually a free agent with no compensation. However, many assume that the hockey player will sign the qualifying offer that was presented to him by the Senators at the beginning of last summer. If he makes this decision, it will impact the club's payroll to the tune of approximately $870,000.