(CNN) — The International Ice Hockey Federation has suspended Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov for testing positive for cocaine.
The medication is prohibited under the World Anti-Doping Code.
“Lately, the IIHF told me this, due to a positive test for a prohibited substance, I’d be suspended from international competition for 3 years,” Kuznetsov said in a statement. “I have made the decision to accept this punishment. Representing my country has been so close to something and my own heart I take inside so much pride. Not having the ability to put that sweater on for four years is extremely hard to take.”
Kuznetsov is going to likely be ineligible for four decades, together with his suspension finishing on June 12, 2023. He had been suspended on June 13.
“We are aware of the positive test outcome and related international sanction that has been enforced on Evgeny Kuznetsov,” the Washington Capitals said in a declaration. “We’re disappointed with this development and take this phenomenon seriously.
“Additionally, we are committed to ensuring he has the essential support necessary to operate through this circumstance.”
Cocaine is not illegal under the NHL’s Performance Enhancing Substances Program and is not considered a performance-enhancing medication from the NHL.
“We know that Mr. Kuznetsov has voluntarily sought help during the instruction and counselling program provided for at the NHL and NHLPA collective bargaining agreement and has agreed to a normal testing protocol relating to his involvement with that application,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement.
Daly states that Kuznetsov has consented to a meeting with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, on whether any additional actions are required which no decisions are made.
“I’ve disappointed so a lot of people that are important for me, including my family, teammates and buddies,” Kuznetsov said. “In the first day that I took the ice at D.C., ” the Washington Capitals organization and our fans are nothing but great to me and my family. I feel terrible for letting you down. I realize the only method I can win you back is to take ownership of my situation and my actions from this point forward.”