Anaheim Ducks forward Shawn Horcoff has been suspended for 20 games, without pay, for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.

The suspension is accompanied by mandatory referral to the NHL/NHLPA Program for Substance Abuse and Behavioural Health for evaluation and possible treatment, under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Horcoff released the following statement through the NHL:

"While recovering from an injury I suffered this past fall, I tried a treatment that I believed would help speed up the healing process.

"Although I was unaware that this treatment was not permitted under NHL rules, that is no excuse whatsoever. I should have done my research and I should have checked with the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program's doctors. I accept full responsibility for my actions, and I am sorry.

"Throughout my entire career, I have felt genuinely blessed and honoured to play the great game of hockey, and I regret the impact that this may have on my team and our fans.

"I look forward to the day I return to the ice for the playoff push."

Ducks general manager Bob Murray signed Horcoff to a one-year deal in the off-season during a shakeup of his roster. Anaheim finished one game short of the Stanley Cup Final last season, losing Game 7 of the Western Conference finals at home to eventual champion Chicago.

"The Anaheim Ducks organization fully supports the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program," Murray said in a statement. "We will also continue to support Shawn as a player and person throughout this process."

The 37-year-old Horcoff, from Trail, BC., has six goals, four assists and 30 minutes in penalties in his first season with the Ducks. He played the last two seasons with the Dallas Stars after entering the NHL in the 2000-01 season with the Edmonton Oilers. During his time with the Oilers, Horcoff scored 162 goals.

Horcoff will forfeit $357,526.88 US in salary.

Horcoff is the first NHL player suspended since November 2014, when Toronto Maple Leafs forward Carter Ashton was banned for 20 games by the league after failing a drug test. Ashton said at the time he inadvertently ingested clenbuterol, a prohibited substance, after using another athlete's inhaler during an asthma attack.

Horcoff is the fourth player suspended under the NHL/NHLPA policy, following Ashton, New York Islanders defenceman Sean Hill in 2007 and Buffalo forward Zenon Konopka in 2014.

With files from The Canadian Press