Pound dismisses NHL's claim of no positive tests

Updated: June 13, 2006, 4:05 PM ET
Associated Press

MONTREAL -- The NHL is trying to fool the public with a flawed anti-doping program, the chairman of the World Anti-Doping agency said Tuesday.

Dick Pound said league statements Monday that there were no positive tests among 1,406 administered during the season were meaningless given the loopholes in its anti-doping program.

"All we can do is keep drawing the attention of the public to its shortcomings and make sure the public understands that it's being fooled by the NHL when it says it has a serious testing program," Pound said.

He said the NHL does not test for stimulants and other banned substances and does not test at times when players are likely to be caught, such as during offseason training.

Pound did not back off a statement he made in November that up to a third of NHL players may be using performance-enhancing drugs "if you include the full range of drugs, most of which they don't test for.

"I think they should make clear what they test for and what they don't. And make it clear when they're testing out of competition and in competition. And make it clear they don't test before and after games. And they don't test in the offseason and that they only test for steroids."

NHL players, management personnel and representatives of the NHL Players Association expressed delight when it was made known that none of the tests taken since January were positive.

And many mentioned Pound, saying the results proved his estimate was wrong.

NHLPA executive director Ted Saskin said Pound "should be embarrassed by his baseless and uninformed allegations.

"I would hope that in the future he refrains from commenting on NHL players since his last remarks were so off-base."

Pound said the league's program lacked transparency and that it should make public its "whole testing protocol," including who is administering the tests, how they were taken and which players were tested at what times.

The league said each of the league's roughly 700 players was tested up to two times between Jan. 15 and the end of the regular season. The tests were administered by the independent lab Comprehensive Drug Testing of Long Beach, Calif.

The program is run jointly by the league and the players association. It is the first time the league has had anti-doping tests.

Players were not tested for the drugs on WADA's list of banned substances that are prohibited only during competition, such as stimulants. Some cold remedies that contain stimulants, such as ephedrine, are suspected to be widely used by hockey players.

Bill Daly, NHL deputy commissioner, said the test results showed that "doping is not a problem in our sport.

"We're pleased but not surprised by the results," he said.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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