As it stands right now, Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov will not be allowed to participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, China in February. Kuznetsov was suspended for four years by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) back in 2019 for testing positive for cocaine.
However, according to the Russian media outlet SportExpress, efforts to lift his suspension continue. Russian Hockey Federation (FHR) executive director Dmitry Kurbatov recently commented on the situation.
“We are in contact with the player and his agent. Lawyers are engaged. While there is no news, there is nothing to say. There are many legal nuances. If there will be positive shifts – we will share it right away,” Kurbatov told reporters.
The IIHF suspended Kuznetsov for a violation of World Anti-Doping Code Article 2.1 (Presence of a Prohibited Substance). The case concerned 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 May 26, 2019 at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
Kuznetsov released a statement immediately following the announcement of his suspension.
“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.”
The men’s Olympic hockey tournament will take place from February 9 through 20 in Beijing.
By Jon Sorensen