No NHL players fail drug test in first year

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

No NHL player failed a drug test during the first season of the league's anti-doping program, adopted last year in the collective bargaining agreement that ended the yearlong lockout.

"I suppose it's safe to say that the results confirmed what we knew already, which is the use of performance enhancing drugs is not prevalent in our sport," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Monday in an e-mail.

There were 1,406 tests conducted in the program that began in January. Daly said he was informed of the results two weeks ago. The findings were first reported by The Canadian Press.

Under the testing plan, the first in NHL history, every player in the league is subject to up to two random tests every year -- with at least one on a team-wide basis.

A first time offender gets a 20-game suspension without pay and mandatory referral to the league's substance abuse program for evaluation, education and possible treatment. A second positive test carries a 60-game suspension.

If a player fails a third time, he would be permanently suspended by the league. The player has the right to apply for reinstatement after two years.

The list of prohibited substances, agreed upon by a joint committee of the NHL and the players' association, includes those maintained by the World Anti-Doping Agency for both in-competition and out-of-competition testing.

The league's testing program has been scrutinized and criticized by WADA president Dick Pound of Canada. Pound charged last year that one-third of NHL players were taking performance-enhancing substances. Both the NHL and the players' association, which jointly run the testing program, disputed his claims.

-- AP

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