(CNN) — The International Ice Hockey Federation has suspended Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov for testing positive for cocaine.
The drug is banned under the World Anti-Doping Code.
“Recently, the IIHF notified me that, because of a positive test for a banned substance, I’d be suspended from international competition for four years,” Kuznetsov said in a statement. “I have made the choice to accept this punishment. Representing my country has ever been so close to something and my own heart that I take much pride in. Not having the ability to put that sweater on for a long time is extremely tough to take.”
Kuznetsov will probably likely be ineligible for four decades, with his suspension finishing on June 12, 2023. He was suspended on June 13.
“We are aware of the positive test result and related international sanction that has been imposed on Evgeny Kuznetsov,” that the Washington Capitals said in a statement. “We are disappointed with this growth and accept this occurrence seriously.
“In addition, we’re devoted to ensuring that he has the necessary support needed to operate through this circumstance.”
Cocaine is not considered a medication from the NHL and isn’t illegal under the Performance Enhancing Substances Program of the NHL.
“We understand that Mr. Kuznetsov has voluntarily sought help during the instruction and counseling program provided for in the NHL and NHLPA collective bargaining agreement, and it has agreed to a regular testing protocol regarding his involvement with that program,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement.
Daly states that no decisions are made on whether any further disciplinary actions are required, and that Kuznetsov has agreed to a meeting with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
“I have disappointed so many people who are important to me, like my family, teammates and friends,” Kuznetsov said. “From the very first day I took the ice at D.C., the Washington Capitals business and our supporters were nothing but good for me and my loved ones. I feel terrible for letting you down. I realize that the only way I could win you back would be to take ownership of my situation and my activities from this point forward.”
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