NHL

Russia dumps U-18 hockey team amid doping reports

Russia has changed almost its entire under-18 hockey team a day before the team departs for the world championships in North Dakota, prompting confusion and questions over alleged doping.

New roster hastily assembled for world championship tournament

Reports: Under-18 men's team replaced after failed tests. 2:43

Russia has changed almost its entire under-18 ice hockey team a day before the team departs for the world championships in North Dakota, prompting confusion and questions over alleged doping.

The coach and all Russia-based players were removed and replaced with a hastily assembled group of under-17s on Thursday, and the previous players' profiles were deleted from the team website.

Local media were linking the switch to doping, but Russian Hockey Federation president Vladislav Tretiak told state news agencies it was "a tactical decision by the coaching staff," without providing further details. "I ask you not to give in to rumour and to speculate about what has happened."

He added the federation had not conducted any informal doping tests of its players, which would be a breach of anti-doping rules.

Russian sports have been scandalized by doping, including a rash of positive tests by athletes including Maria Sharapova for the heart drug meldonium, which was routinely used as a supplement in Russia but was banned from Jan. 1.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.