NHL to screen for cocaine in every drug test by season’s end

nhl-iceWith growing concerns about players’ use of the drug, and in the wake of multiple high-profile arrests, league reportedly set to ramp up testing program.

With multiple high-profile arrests related to cocaine in recent months, and one of the NHL’s top executives admitting in October that use of the drug is on the rise among players, the NHL will greatly step up its testing for the drug by the end of this season, one outlet reported Monday. Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports in Canada reported in a series of tweets that the league intends to subject cocaine to “all the NHL drug testing . . . by the end of the season.”

In early October, just before the season began,NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told TSN Sports, “The number of [cocaine] positives are more than they were in previous years and they’re going up. I wouldn’t say it’s a crisis in any sense. What I’d say is drugs like cocaine are cyclical and you’ve hit a cycle where it’s an ‘in’ drug again.

“I’d be shocked if we’re talking about a couple dozen guys. I don’t want to be naïve here … but if we’re talking more than 20 guys I’d be shocked. Because we don’t test in a comprehensive way, I can’t say.”

Nonetheless, the league appears set on beefing up a program which, according to the TSN report in October, screened for cocaine in only one third of the samples it collects each year. TSN put the number of total samples collected at 2,400.

Jarret Stoll was arrested in Las Vegas this past April and charged with felony cocaine possession in June while a member of the Los Angeles Kings. He pleaded to a pair of misdemeanors and avoided jail time. Stoll is now with the New York Rangers.

Also in April, the Lightning’s Ryan Malone was arrested in Tampa, Fla.,and charged with cocaine possession and driving under the influence. Malone reportedly pleaded into a diversion program on the DUI charge which, if he completes, will lead to a dismissal of the cocaine-possession charge. Malone was also signed by the Rangers but was subsequently released this past offseason.

The NHL’s current substance-abuse program has four stages. According to the Sporting News, here are the stages:



●  Stage 1 is for players who volunteer for treatment and aren’t suspended as they seek help.



●  Stage 2 is for players who violate the first stage and are suspended without pay as they undergo treatment.



●  Stage 3 is for offenders of the second stage and carries a minimum six-month suspension without pay.



●  Stage 4 is for offenders of the third stage and carries a one-year suspension without pay. At that point, the decision regarding the player’s reinstatement is determined by the NHL and NHL Players’ Association. Article Link…

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