On Friday August 23rd, the International Ice Hockey Federation suspended Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov for four years after testing positive for possession of Cocaine. This comes after a video circulated around May of Kuznetsov with some of his friends and a visible line of cocaine.
According to the Washington Capitals organization, they are aware of Kuznetsov’s actions and are deeply disappointed in his actions and are taking this incident very seriously. After the announcement, Kuznetsov voluntarily sought help and agreed to regular testing provided for by the NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement. As for the Washington Capitals, the organization is committed to giving him all the necessary tools to work through this ordeal.
Kuznetsov released a statement recognizing that he’s disappointed so many people who are important to him; including his friends, teammates and fans and that his dream has always been representing his country and being suspended for four years would be very hard to take.
The NHL knew of Kuznetsov’s cocaine use, but does not suspend players for its use since it is not recognized as a performance enhancing drug. However, when tested for high enough levels of one an abusive drug such as cocaine or marijuana, the veil of anonymity is lifted and doctors can recommend treatment. After testing positive to even minimal levels of abusive drugs, players are suggested to go through the NHLPA’s drug abuse programs, but are not required to if they do not choose to.