DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov is the subject of a civil suit filed by his ex-girlfriend in Denver district court stemming from multiple domestic violence incidents alleged to have occurred during their relationship.
Varlamov was arrested on assault charges against his then-girlfriend last October, although the charges were later dismissed in December after prosecutors found that they did not have the evidence necessary to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Now the 26-year-old netminder is in headlines again with his ex-girlfriend, Evgeniya Vavrinyuk, seeking general, compensatory and punitive damages for reduction in past, present and future income, damage to her reputation, humiliation and emotional distress.
The suit details multiple incidents spanning from November 2012 to October 2013 in which the plaintiff alleges that Varlamov kicked, punched and repeatedly abused and threatened her in fits of drunken rage.
Vavrinyuk alleges the incidents occurred in their native Russia and while on vacation to the Maldive Islands, as well as in the United States, but that she feared calling the police in the latter because of Varlamov's star status as a professional hockey player.
"Obviously this case is very important," Vavrinyuk's lawyer, Keith Fink, told ESPN.com via email. "Professional sports organizations and collegiate programs need a wake-up call that domestic violence is an extremely serious issue and a huge problem that must be addressed with draconian penalties on an organizational and institutional level to the athlete involved. The current laissez faire approach enables domestic violence and is not something our society will countenance."
Fink is presumably referring to the Ray Rice case that rocked the National Football League last month, when the Baltimore Ravens player was shown on video to have knocked out his then-fiancée Janay Palmer after striking her in a hotel elevator. He was later suspended indefinitely by the NFL.
Although charges have not been officially filed against Voynov -- he has a court date Dec. 1, and the investigation is ongoing -- the NHL suspended him immediately.
But the circumstances surrounding the case of Voynov and Varlamov are different, not to mention the dramatically different landscape in the handling of domestic violence issues in professional sports.
While the NHL allowed the legal process to play out in Varlamov's case last season -- he was never suspended and, in fact, played the night after he was released from jail -- it acted swiftly to suspend Voynov.
That does not mean that Varlamov will be immune to supplementary discipline from the league in the future, however, a high-ranking league official confirmed to ESPN.com. Depending on what evidence comes to light as the result of a civil suit, the league still has the latitude to apply punishment where it sees fit.
Calls and emails to Varlamov's attorneys and agent were not immediately returned.