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Colorado Avalanche goalie Varlamov charged with assaulting girlfriend

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov was charged on Friday with misdemeanor assault for allegedly kicking and stomping his girlfriend at the couple's Denver condominium last month, prosecutors said.

The Russian-born Varlamov, the starting goaltender for the National Hockey League franchise, was charged with one count of third-degree assault, according to Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney's office.

The charge carries a maximum two-year jail sentence if he is convicted, and a domestic violence component is factored into the punishment, Kimbrough said.

Varlamov, 25, surrendered to police after the woman reported that she had been kicked in the chest, stomped and dragged by the hair inside the couple's downtown Denver residence on October 28.

According to an affidavit filed by Denver police in support of the arrest, the alleged victim told a friend before she was attacked that she feared being assaulted by Varlamov after he had been drinking.

Varlamov told his girlfriend, who is also Russian, that "he would have beat her more" if the couple were in Russia, the affidavit said.

He has been free on a $5,000 bail since his arrest and is allowed to travel with the team under the conditions of his bond.

Varlamov was in goal Thursday night when Avalanche defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 4-3 in Arizona to boost their record to 15-4 under first-year coach Patrick Roy, the Hall of Fame goalie who led the Avalanche to two Stanley Cup championships as a player.

Varlamov's New York-based agent, Paul Theofanous, said after his client's arrest that the player "is completely innocent of all of these charges."

The Avalanche organization issued a statement on Friday, saying team management was informed of the district attorney's decision, and would have "no further comment until the entire legal process has concluded."

The National Hockey League's head office said it is monitoring the situation, but will not take any action until the case is resolved, according to NHL.com

Varlamov is scheduled to return to court on December 2.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Gunna Dickson)

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