Kings Goalie Prospect Bartosak Charged With Domestic Assault
Patrik Bartosak, a goaltending prospect in the Los Angeles Kings farm system, is facing 12 charges for domestic assault. The New Hampshire Union Leader reports that Bartosak, on a conditioning stint with the ECHL Manchester Monarchs, allegedly attempted to strangle his girlfriend early Monday afternoon.
The Kings response was swift and decisive. The team’s official website posted the following statement early Wednesday morning:
“This morning our Club suspended Patrik Bartosak for his actions resulting in his arrest in Manchester, NH on November 16. We take this matter very seriously. Our response in this matter reflects our extreme disappointment, particularly given the programs we have instituted internally and the commitment our organization has made to educating our players on the prevention of domestic violence. This is the first step in an ongoing process as we continue to gather information related to this incident and monitor the legal proceedings.”
The details of the charges are very disturbing and may be difficult for some readers.
They allege Bartosak “pushed her against a wall, put his hand around her neck and choked her, […] punched her in the chest twice, slapped her in the face and slapped her three times on both legs,” all while uttering horrifying threats: “If you don’t have anything to say I’m going to kill you,” “I’m going to punch you in the face if you don’t say anything,” and “I hope you know I’m going to knock you out and put you to sleep before I leave.”
The Kings, and the NHL in general, have had ample opportunity to learn from similar cases in the recent past. Former Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, who recently served jail time for domestic assault, was also suspended quickly after his arrest. However, the Kings were later fined and justly criticized for allowing him to practice with the team during his suspension.
Both Voynov and Bartosak’s cases have been handled very differently than that of Semyon Varlamov, the Colorado Avalanche’s starting goalie, who was charged with domestic assault in 2013. Neither the league nor the team took any action in that instance, remaining silent as Varlamov continued to play and travel with the team.
The outcry from the public and media over the league’s handling of the directly-comparable Varlamov case, as well as the very recent Patrick Kane rape investigation, may have prompted the league and club to take a very clear stand on Bartosak. It is admittedly far easier to treat the case with the gravity it deserves when the player isn’t an active NHLer, of course, but it maintains a promising precedent.
Without media attention and public scrutiny, the league and its members may not be motivated to acknowledge, let alone address, the domestic violence issues its players’ families face. Stories like this one are distressing, and expose the worst part of the game’s human failings, but we can’t avoid or ignore them. Silence only helps hide the perennial problem.