On Friday morning, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) announced that Evgeny Kuznetsov will be banned from international play for a period of four years after Kuznetsov tested positive for a banned substance, cocaine.
According to the IIHF, Kuznetsov was tested on May 26, during the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. He was provisionally suspended on June 13.
Russian forward Yevgeni Kuznetsov has received a 4-year suspension from the IIHF after testing positive for a banned substance at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. https://t.co/qLpqHGKlbT
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) August 23, 2019
The IIHF’s test result contradicts Kuznetsov’s assertion that he has never used drugs.
On May 27, the day after Kuznetsov’s IIHF test, a video posted to Twitter appeared to show the Capitals center in an unspecified hotel room, in the presence of a white powder. Kuznetsov said the video was taken in the summer of 2018, in Las Vegas after the Capitals won the Stanley Cup. However, he denied using the substance.
“Yes, I saw the video on the internet,” Kuznetsov said in his response, which was posted to sport-express.ru and translated by RMNB’s Igor Kleyner. “I don’t necessarily have anything to do with what is going on around me. I never used drugs and have no intention to get into it. If there are any questions, I am ready to undergo testing.”
The Capitals and NHL conducted investigations and cleared Kuznetsov.
The NHL only began formally testing all players for recreational drugs such as cocaine or marijuana in 2017. The NHL, unlike its major sports-league counterparts the NFL, MLB, and NBA, does not prohibit the use of cocaine or suspend players who test positive for the drug.
Kuznetsov’s international suspension will lift on June 12, 2023. He will miss the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing (if the NHL participates) and he will not be able to play in the KHL if there is an NHL lockout.
The Russian center recently deleted all the posts on his Instagram page ahead of the announcement by the IIHF.
More from the IIHF:
The IIHF has suspended Russian ice hockey player Yevgeni Kuznetsov for a violation of World Anti-Doping Code Article 2.1 (Presence of a Prohibited Substance).
The case concerns 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 26 May 2019 at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
The player didn’t require the analysis of his B-sample and was provisionally suspended on 13th June 2019.
The period of ineligibility to be imposed shall be four years, concluding on 12th June 2023.
Read more: Evgeny Kuznetsov comments on his suspension
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong
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