The NHL and the NHL Players' Association announced Tuesday that Predators' forward Austin Watson will be suspended without pay while he undergoes treatment for ongoing struggles with alcohol abuse, effective immediately.
Watson will be placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA. According to a news release from the NHL, the treatment is "related exclusively" to Watson's alcohol abuse issues.
The Predators released the following statement:
The Nashville Predators are saddened and disappointed for Austin Watson and his family as he enters the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program for alcohol-related treatment. We are grateful for the NHL and NHLPA’s program and will cooperate in any way necessary as we continue to support Austin and his family as they go through this difficult time. Because of the personal nature of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program and our exclusive focus on Austin and his family’s well-being, there will be no further comment on this matter.
Watson will not be cleared to return to on-ice competition until he is cleared by the program administrators.