Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jose Theodore has tested positive for a banned substance during pre-Olympic drug testing.

Canadiens physician Dr. David Mulder told reporters Thursday at a news conference that Theodore tested positive for a hair restoration drug known as Propecia.

"He's been taking it on the advice of a dermatologist," Mulder said, adding that the goaltender had used it for eight to nine years.

"And he has had very good success and he feels it has helped hair growth and prevented further loss. And he has taken it with my knowledge."

Theodore was chosen to the preliminary 81-man Olympic eligibility list, but failed to make the final roster bound for Turin.

The test was not part of the NHL's new testing program, so he will not be subject to league discipline.

"It is very clear that Jose Theodore is taking Propecia for the sole purpose of treating hair loss," NHL Players' Association executive director Ted Saskin stated. "Since Propecia is a prescription product that is banned as a masking agent, but can be approved in situations where it is prescribed for hair restoration purposes, players may apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE)."

Saskin went on to say that, prior to the beginning of the joint NHL/NHLPA performance enhancing substances program's start, Theodore had applied for a TUE in order to keep using the hair medication.

A source told Canadian Press that the goaltender was "likely to receive" a therapeutic-use exemption because he has been using a hair-growth product prescribed by a doctor for years.

Aside from being a hair restorer, Propecia also acts as a masking agent for the steroid nandrolone, which produces muscle bulk, though Theodore denies he knew that until recently. It was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's restricted list about two years ago.

Because it can act as a masking agent, propecia was placed on WADA's banned list. On its own, it has no performance-enhancing beneifts, Mulder said.

Mulder confirmed the Canadiens first learned that Propecia was considered a banned substance in early December during a visit with league officials.

Theodore is not the only athlete to have been found with a similar drug in his system. Zach Lund, an American skeleton slider, pleaded his case for racing in the Olympics before the Court of Arbitration for Sport after testing positive for finasteride.

Mariano Hood, an Argentine tennis player, and Nemanja Vucicevic, a German soccer player, were banned for taking the same drug last year.

Earlier this year, Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Bryan Berard received a two-year international ban after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.

with files from CP Online