Are NHL players using PEDs? Jonathan Toews says naive to say no

By Andrew DeWitt | Editor

Jonathan Toews says it's 'naive' to think no NHLers are using PEDs. (USATSI)
Jonathan Toews says it's 'naive' to think no NHLers are using PEDs. (USATSI)

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The NHL has had only one positive PED test in seven years. But is it realistic to believe that no NHLers are using something to gain an edge?

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said in an interview Wednesday that it's 'naive' to think that no one in the NHL is using something even though only one player has been caught in the NHL's drug testing policy.

"I think it would be naive to say that there's no one in the NHL that is trying to get the edge in that fashion," the Chicago Blackhawks centre said on Sportsnet The Fan 590 Wednesday. "But at the end of the day, whether you get caught now or not, down the road at some point those sort of things come out as we've seen in Major League Baseball and cycling.

"Eventually ... someone is going to save their own butt and throw you under the bus. And that's your legacy. That's what people remember: that you're a cheater and you took performance-enhancing drugs.

"I think guys that apologize and plead that they didn't know what they were doing, I think they know exactly what they're doing. So the more tests the better. It protects the guys that are being fair and are putting good things into their body. So I have no problem with [more testing]."

Some people took Toews' comments as saying that there are players using but really there doesn't seem to be a doping culture like what exists in baseball, the NFL and Olympic sports.

In the new CBA, the NHL expanded its random drug testing program to include random tests during the playoffs and the offseason, according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly. The league and NHLPA also expanded the prohibited drug list.

Up to 60 players can be tested in the offseason. At some point, the NHL will add HGH testing to the drug policy as well.

"But I think overall, it's safe to stay that this is a sport where [PEDs] aren't part of the culture," Daly said.

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