Slava Voynov is headed home to Russia.
Facing deportation proceedings with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, it appears Voynov, a Los Angeles Kings defenseman, took matters into his own hands, releasing a statement through agent Rolland Hedges on Wednesday saying he was leaving.
"Earlier today, I notified the National Hockey League, the National Hockey League Players' Association and the Los Angeles Kings of my decision to immediately begin the formal process of returning to Russia with my family," Voynov said in the statement. "I sincerely apologize to those in and around the game of hockey, who have been affected by my situation, and I also wish the Players of the LA Kings success in the future."
The Kings released a statement shortly after saying they had planned to terminate Voynov's contract but that termination was unnecessary because his departure ends the contract. The Kings no longer have to pay Voynov, and he will not count against their salary cap, but they will retain his NHL rights.
Voynov had four years left on his deal at an average cap hit of $4.16 million per season.
"In terms of all this, the last seven, eight months has really opened my eyes to a lot of things," Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said on a conference call. "Like anything else, we're going to get better from this as an organization. I'm convinced. ... My only regret or whatever is that I pride myself on being prepared and having a plan, and it's been very clear to me that I've been negligent in this area, and we're going to fix that going forward."
A native of Chelyabinsk, Russia, Voynov, 25, was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this month after being released from jail for serving a sentence for domestic violence. Voynov seemed likely to be deported after losing his work visa. His decision to leave still must be approved by federal authorities.
He also was facing potential further NHL discipline if he tried to stay and play in the league.
Voynov was arrested last October after his wife was taken to a hospital upon suffering injuries resulting from a domestic dispute with Voynov that began at a team party and continued at their Redondo Beach, California, home.
Voynov originally faced a felony charge of corporal injury to a spouse. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence and was sentenced to a 90-day term earlier this summer, along with three years of probation.
He was suspended with pay by the NHL immediately after his arrest. The team also suspended Voynov without pay in relation to a non-hockey injury he suffered. The league probably would have suspended him without pay if he had tried to stay and continue his NHL career.
Voynov won the Stanley Cup as an NHL rookie with the Kings in 2012, and he was the No. 2 defenseman on Los Angeles' second championship team in 2014. He also played for Russia at the Sochi Olympics, establishing himself as one of the nation's top defensemen.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.