Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/01/13 at 01:09 PM ET
from Sarah Kwak of Sports Illustrated,
For years, the prevailing thought has been that the NHL doesn't have a performance-enhancing drug problem. It isn't a part of hockey's culture, people claim. Steroids wouldn't help hockey players score goals in the same way they would help, say, ballplayers slug pitches out of the park. There hasn't been much evidence to prove those claims wrong. When the NHL created a woefully overdue testing program in 2005, there was no rash of positive tests that suggested a problem. And every four years since 1998, a large number of NHLers undergo strict WADA testing in order to be eligible for the Winter Olympics. There have been no earth-shattering revelations from that program, either. But of course, thanks to Lance Armstrong, we all know now that the absence of positive tests doesn't necessarily prove that all is well.
The NHL claimed to be ahead of the curve, but over the last five years, that curve has sped by. Under the new CBA, however, the league and its players are taking steps, as small as they might be, to catch up. Buried in the 24-page memo of understanding are a few substantive changes to the NHL's drug-testing program, notably that the league will begin testing during the playoffs and administer a limited number of tests during the off-season.
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