No violations in NHL drug tests
The National Hockey League said its athletes were drug free and now it appears they have the evidence to prove it.
According to a Canadian Press report, there were no positive drug tests among the 1,406 administered under the NHL's new anti-doping program.
Sources confirmed that no violations were found since thedrug testing program began in January.
Under theprogram,jointly run by the league and the NHL Players' Association, a first-time offender faces a 20-game suspension. The ban is increased to 60 games for a second offence while a third offence means a permanent suspension.
Earlier this year, Montreal lawyer Dick Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, criticized theNHL's anti-doping program, calling it"seriously flawed."
In a speech lastNovember in London, Ont., he suggestedthat one third of NHL players were likely taking performance-enhancing substances, a claim the league andits players vehemently denied.
Twopositive resultsin other tests
Two athletes did test positive for banned substances in out-of-competition tests administered by their national anti-doping agencies.
Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Bryan Berard and Colorado Avalanche goaltender Jose Theodore both failed drug tests, but neither was suspended because the tests didn't come under the NHL program.
Berard tested positive for traces of the steroid 19-norandrosterone on Nov. 12. He was subject to a doping test because he was on the U.S. Olympic hockey team's preliminary roster. The failed test means Berard is banned from international competition for two years.
Theodore, who was on Canada's preliminary Olympic roster, failed a doping test Dec. 9 when his urine sample showed Finasteride, a masking agent for steroids that is also found in hair-restoration drugs.
Theodore said he's been using the hair product Propecia for several years and that's what led to the positive test. He is also banned from international competition for two years.
With files from the Canadian Press