The IIHF has suspended Russian ice hockey player Evgeni Kuznetsov for a violation of World Anti-Doping Code Article 2.1 (Presence of a Prohibited Substance). The case concerns a test indicating a prohibited substance, cocaine, according to section S6.a (non-specified substance) of the World Anti-Doping Code 2019 Prohibited List. The prohibited substance was found in a doping control which occurred on 26 May 2019 at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
The player didn’t require the analysis of his B-sample and was provisionally suspended on 13th June 2019.
The period of ineligibility to be imposed shall be four years, concluding on 12th June 2023.
A video of Kuznetsov seen in the same room next to a mirror of white powder surfaced last May, however Kuznetsov denied any linkage to the mystery substance. (Article here)
Earlier in the week Kuznetsov deleted all of the images from his Instagram account. (here).
STATEMENT FROM THE CAPITALS
We are aware of the positive test result and related international sanction that has been imposed on Evgeny Kuznetsov. We are disappointed with this development and take this occurrence seriously. We understand that Evgeny has voluntarily sought help through the education and counseling program provided for in the NHL/NHLPA collective bargaining agreement and has agreed to a regular testing protocol relating to his involvement with that program. In addition, we are committed to ensuring he has the necessary support required to work through this situation. We will remain in contact with the NHL as they determine the next steps. Because of the sensitive nature surrounding this matter, there will be no further comment from us at this time.”
STATEMENT FROM EVGENY KUZNETSOV
“Recently, the IIHF notified me that, due to a positive test for a banned substance, I would be suspended from international competition for four years. I have made the decision to accept this penalty. Representing my country has always been so close to my heart and something I take so much pride in. Not being able to put that sweater on for four years is very hard to take. I have disappointed so many people that are important to me, including my family, teammates and friends. From the first day I took the ice in D.C., the Washington Capitals organization and our fans have been nothing but great to me and my family. I feel absolutely terrible for letting you down. I realize that the only way I can win you back is to take ownership of my situation and my actions from this point forward.”
STATEMENT FROM THE NHL
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly released the following statement today regarding Washington Capitals’ Player Evgeny Kuznetsov:
“We have been fully briefed by the IIHF with respect to the positive test result and related international sanction that has been imposed on Washington Capitals’ Player Evgeny Kuznetsov.
“Unlike the IIHF, cocaine is not considered a performance enhancing drug and is therefore not a Prohibited Substance under the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. Instead, it is considered a drug of abuse that is tested for and for which intervention, evaluation and mandatory treatment can occur in appropriate cases.
“Here, we understand that Mr. Kuznetsov has voluntarily sought help through the education and counseling program provided for in the NHL and NHLPA collective bargaining agreement and has agreed to a regular testing protocol relating to his involvement with that program.
“Mr. Kuznetsov has also agreed to an in-person meeting with Commissioner Gary Bettman to discuss his situation and review his conduct prior to the start of Training Camp preceding the 2019-20 season. We intend to reserve further comment on any additional actions that may or may not be taken with respect to today’s announcement (disciplinary or otherwise) pending the completion of the Commissioner’s meeting with Mr. Kuznetsov.”
STATEMENT FROM RUSSIAN ICE HOCKEY FEDERATION