SUN Hockey Pool

Steroids in the NHL? Duh

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

Steroids in the NHL? No way.

Next thing you know they'll be telling us about pot in the X-Games and guns in the hip-hop industry.

If former enforcer Dave Morissette was trying to shock the hockey world this week by admitting his 11-game NHL career was greatly enhanced by steroids, and that heavyweight contenders are juicing their way up the ranks as we speak, he didn't.

The response from almost everyone who's ever played the game was short and to the point: Duh.

Athletes have been shooting up in baseball, in the NFL, in the CFL, in the CIAU, in the Prairie Junior Football Conference and in virtually every high school in North America. Why would anyone be gullible enough to think hockey is exempt from cheaters?

"It doesn't surprise me at all," said Edmonton Road Runners enforcer Rocky Thompson, adding there are plenty of drug cheats in the AHL.

"I'm not going to name names because I don't know for sure, but it's awfully suspicious when a guy puts on 25 pounds of muscle over the summer. Common sense would tell you that. A year ago I'm throwing him around and this year I can hardly budge him?"

The guys who fight for a living say it's much more widespread than just the five players who supposedly tested positive in experimental NHLPA tests a few years back - and they'd like to see widespread testing at all levels to eliminate the unfair advantage.

TRIED FOR YEARS

"You see guys come into the league and the year before they were 220, this year they're 245, and these are the guys I'm going up against," said Thompson. "How many people can put on 25 pounds of muscle in a summer? I've tried for years and I'm still 200 pounds."

Former Oiler Louie DeBrusk fought a few steroid users during his years as an NHL tough guy, but says they were few and far between back then.

"In all the years I played there might be 10 guys who I think might have done something," said DeBrusk. "I think there were guys who did it, a few who over a couple of years got really strong and really big, but I don't think it was widespread, or is now."

BROCCOLI AND TUNA

Runners giant Brent Henley isn't surprised by Morissette's allegations, either. He, too, has seen players balloon from 210 pounds to 240 over two or three seasons and doubts it was from broccoli and tuna. But he doesn't resent what they've done or even consider it cheating.

"It's true, I have to go and fight these guys, but they're making a personal choice and it's not my place to say they're wrong or right, that's up to the sport and the governing bodies. I choose not to do them."

It helps when you're six-foot-seven, but Henley learned early on that getting big isn't worth dying for.

"Our phys-ed teacher gave us more than usual information," he said. "We learned about all the side-effects. We watched documentaries. We watched (ex-Oakland Raider lineman) Lyle Alzado talking about how he wished he never did them. This was after he died from them. He was saying 'Please kids, don't do this. They ruined my life. I'm dying.' That was enough to shock me. That extra 10 pounds isn't worth that."

That's the message all the major sports leagues need to put out there.

"One thing I got from the baseball hearings is that it has become a problem at the high-school level with kids doing it, and that's the last thing you want," said Oilers defenceman Steve Staios, who'd like to see testing.

"We're supposed to be role models."


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