NHL: Nashville Predators at Tampa Bay Lightning
Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of domestic assault in court on Tuesday. 

The 26-year-old Watson was arrested on suspicion of domestic assault on June 16 at a gas station in Franklin, Tennessee. After a police officer was flagged down by a witness, Watson told police that he had been engaged in an argument with his girlfriend and admitted to pushing her during the altercation. Watson's girlfriend had red marks on her chest, and she said that Watson was responsible for them.

Watson can have his misdemeanor charge dismissed if he completes three months of probation, an in-patient treatment program and a batterer's intervention program.

Unlike the other major North American sports leagues, the NHL doesn't have a specific policy in regard to domestic violence. However, the NHL has released a statement saying it will launch an investigation into the incident to determine if discipline is warranted.

"Following today's events in Nashville, we have notified the [Predators] and the NHLPA that the league will be initiating a full investigation into the matter ... to determine the extent to which league discipline for Mr. Watson's off-ice conduct may be warranted and/or appropriate," the NHL said in a release.

The Predators have pledged full cooperation in that investigation. The team released its own statement on Tuesday.

"Our priority right now is surrounding Austin, (his girlfriend) Jen and their family with the care and resources they need to heal and move forward," the Predators said in their statement.

Last year, the American-born forward was one of several Predators that participated in a campaign to end violence against women.

Watson, who was a first-round pick in 2010, recently signed a three-year, $3.3 million extension with the Predators prior to last season. He had a career-high 14 goals and 19 points in 2017-2018. He also recorded eight points during the Predators' playoff run, which ended at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets in the second round.