(CNN) — The International Ice Hockey Federation has suspended Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov for testing positive for cocaine.
The drug is prohibited under the World Anti-Doping Code.
“Recently, the IIHF told me this, because of a positive test for a banned substance, I would be suspended from international competition for four years,” Kuznetsov said in a declaration. “I have made the choice to accept this penalty. Representing my country has been near something and my heart I take pride in. Not being able to put that sweater for four years is quite hard to take.”
Kuznetsov is going to probably be ineligible for four decades, together with his suspension. He had been provisionally suspended on June 13.
“We know of the positive test outcome and associated international sanction that has been enforced on Evgeny Kuznetsov,” the Washington Capitals said in a statement. “We are disappointed with this development and take this phenomenon seriously.
“In addition, we’re dedicated to ensuring that he has the necessary support necessary to work through this situation.”
Cocaine is not considered a performance-enhancing medication from the NHL and is not prohibited under the NHL’s Performance Enhancing Substances Program.
“We understand that Mr. Kuznetsov has sought help through the instruction and counselling program provided for from the NHL and NHLPA collective bargaining agreement and has agreed to a regular testing protocol concerning his participation with that application,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement.
Daly says that no conclusions have been made on whether any further disciplinary actions are required, and that Kuznetsov has agreed to a meeting with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
“I’ve disappointed so lots of people who are important to me, including my family, teammates and friends,” Kuznetsov said. “In the very first day that I took the ice at D.C., ” the Washington Capitals company and our supporters are nothing but great to me and my family. I feel absolutely terrible for letting you all down. I realize that the only real way I can win you back is to take ownership of my situation as well as my actions from this point forward.”
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