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23 Aug, 2019 12:38

Russian NHL star Kuznetsov handed 4-year ban for positive cocaine test

Russian NHL star Kuznetsov handed 4-year ban for positive cocaine test

Russia and Washington Capitals star Evgeny Kuznetsov has been given a four-year national team ban by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) after testing positive for cocaine.

The sample for which Kuznetsov tested positive was taken during the 2019 IIHF World Championships in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and revealed the presence of cocaine in the forward's body.

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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 IIHF said in a satatment

According to the IIHF, the player has not requested the analysis of his B-sample, with the disqualification coming into force from June 13.

In May, Kuznetsov was embroiled in a cocaine scandal after a video circulated online showing him sitting beside two lines of white powder.

Back then, the NHL star denied drug use, insisting that the video was taken last year when he was visiting his friends’ hotel room.

“I just visited my friends’ hotel room, but left soon after seeing what was happening there: strange substances on the table and unknown women. I just called my friend and left the room as soon as possible,” Kuznetsov said in May, adding that he was ready to undergo medical tests to prove his innocence.

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The lengthy IIHF ban will mean that the forward is forced to skip the 2022 Winter Olympics in China, should NHL players be allowed to compete there.

The Capitals are yet to comment on the ban, although the suspension does not rule Kuznetsov out of playing in the NHL.