Predators' Austin Watson suspended 27 games after domestic assault arrest

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - The NHL has come down hard on Predators forward Austin Watson, suspending him without pay for the entire preseason and the first 27 games of the regular season. 

Watson was arrested after a domestic abuse incident in the offseason.  

He pleaded no contest to a charge of domestic assault in July after an incident in June, and the NHL found Watson engaged in unacceptable off-ice conduct. 

The NHL had a hearing with Watson last week and Commissioner Gary Bettman handed down the suspension Wednesday. 

Bettman says he determined Watson did have a physical confrontation with his girlfriend and the league will not tolerate that kind of conduct. 

A short time after the suspension was announced the Predators put out this statement: 

The Nashville Predators supported and worked closely with the National Hockey League investigation regarding Austin Watson. During his suspension, we wish Austin, Jenn, and their baby the best as they take the necessary steps to move forward, with the support of the Nashville Predators, the NHL, the NHLPA, and all the collective resources they can provide. Our commitment to AMEND is the same today as it was when we partnered six years ago with the mission of making Nashville the safest city for girls and women. We will continue to evolve and grow our programming to work toward this shared objective. 

The National Hockey League Players' Association says it will appeal the suspension. 

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