(CNN) — The International Ice Hockey Federation has suspended Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov for testing positive for cocaine.
The medication is banned under the World Anti-Doping Code.
“Lately, the IIHF told me, because of a positive test for a banned substance, I would be suspended from international competition for several years,” Kuznetsov said in a declaration. “I’ve made the decision to accept this punishment. Representing my country has always been close to my heart and something that I take inside pride. Not being able to put that sweater on for four years is very tough to take.”
Kuznetsov is going to likely be ineligible for four decades, with his suspension concluding on June 12, 2023. He was suspended on June 13.
“We are aware of the positive test result and related global sanction that’s been enforced on Evgeny Kuznetsov,” that the Washington Capitals said in a declaration. “We are disappointed with this development and take this phenomenon seriously.
“In addition, we are dedicated to ensuring he has the essential support needed to work through this circumstance.”
Cocaine is not thought to be a performance-enhancing drug in the NHL and is not illegal under the NHL’s Performance Enhancing Substances Program.
“We understand that Mr. Kuznetsov has sought help during the education and counselling program provided for at the NHL and NHLPA collective bargaining agreement and has agreed to a regular testing protocol concerning his participation with that program,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement.
Daly says that Kuznetsov has consented to a meeting with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, on whether any further disciplinary actions are required, which no conclusions are made.
“I have disappointed so many people that are important for me, including my loved ones, teammates and friends,” Kuznetsov said. “In the first day that I took the ice at D.C., the Washington Capitals company and our supporters have been nothing but good for me and my loved ones. I feel absolutely awful for letting you down. I realize that the only method I can win back you would be to take possession of my situation and my activities from this point forward.”

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