NHL’s Anti-Doping Policy
In the light of the recent suspensions in the Major League Baseball. I thought I would outline the current anti-doping policy that was created by the NHL and the NHLPA created in the Collective Bargaining Agreement of September 2005. The policy provides for a 20 game suspension for a first positive test, a 60 game suspension for a second positive test, and a lifetime suspension for a third positive test.
Per the agreement, every NHL player will be subject to up to two “no-notice” tests every year, with at least one such test to be conducted on a team-wide basis. Players will be subject to “no-notice” testing at any time.
Positive tests for performance-enhancing substances will result in mandatory discipline as follows:
- For the first positive test, a 20-game suspension without pay and mandatory referral to the League’s Substance Abuse/Behavioral Health Program for evaluation, education and possible treatment.
- For the second positive test, a 60-game suspension without pay.
- For the third positive test, a permanent suspension. A player receiving a third positive test and a permanent suspension from play in the League will, however, be eligible to apply for reinstatement after two years. The application would be considered by an NHLPA/NHL Committee on Performance Enhancing Substances, comprised of an equal number of League and Player representatives as well as one consulting expert physician nominated by each party.
A Prohibited Substances List includes performance-enhancing substances on the list maintained by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for both in-competition and out-of-competition testing. Changes to the items included on the Prohibited List can only be as negotiated by the NHL and NHLPA.
Other responsibilities of the anti-doping policy Program Committee will include:
- The establishment of a comprehensive educational program on the dangers of performance-enhancing substances and the nature of the NHL/NHLPA Program
- Selection of an appropriate sample-collecting authority and an appropriate testing laboratory
- Development of Player and Club notification procedures for positive test results
- The administration of the mandatory discipline and appeal processes
- Oversight of the administration of Player evaluation and treatment following positive tests
- Establishment of standards for the administration of “probable cause” testing.
- Develop an “approved list” of nutritional supplements, which will have been tested and certified as being free of prohibited substances.
The scope of the new Performance-Enhancing Substances Program will be limited to performance-enhancing substances. All other forms of “substance abuse” and behavioral and domestic issues involving players requiring employee assistance will continue to be handled through the NHL/NHLPA Program for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health that was established in 1996.
The Program will employ a strict liability standard for test positives, at the levels established by the Program Committee. A Player will, however, have the right to appeal a positive test result to the Impartial Arbitrator, with such appeal to be heard on an expedited basis.
Test results will be kept confidential to the extent practicable. There will be no public announcement of any kind until the appeal process has been exhausted and the final disciplinary determination has been imposed. Once a positive test has been confirmed after appeal, the Player suspended will be identified, and it will be announced that the Player “has been suspended for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Program for Performance Enhancing Substances.”
All Salary which is forfeited by a Player by reason of a suspension arising from the Player’s violation of the PES Program will be utilized to help defer the costs of both the SABH Program and the PES Program.
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