SUN Hockey Pool

Pound fires more shots at NHL

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

TURIN -- Dick Pound refuses to back down.

On the eve of the Turin Olympics, the chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency continued his attack on the NHL's drug policy and maintained "it's so full of holes, it can't be taken seriously."

Still, Pound, who has accused one-third of NHL players of being on stimulants, said the league's anti-drug policy in the new collective bargaining agreement is better than nothing at all, as in the past.

"The drug testing program (the NHL has) is better than what they had before, which was a complete denial of the existence of the problem," Pound said yesterday.

"An effective anti-doping program, in my view, is very important. But there is no off-season test and that is one of the key times that you have to test players. And you can test a player before the game or after the game ... I mean 'Duh'."

NHL vice-president Bill Daly reacted angrily to Pound's remarks in an email to the Sun yesterday from New York.

"It amazes me how (Pound) continues to go around making sensational public accusations with absolutely no factual basis," said Daly. "We have repeatedly asked him to support his claims. He has failed to provide any such support.

"He seems to be making it up as he goes along."

OTHER STIMULANTS

NHL players are tested randomly by the league throughout the season. A player faces a 20-game suspension for a first offence, 60 for a second one and a lifetime ban for a third.

Although the NHL is testing for performance-enhancing drugs, Pound maintains it is ignoring the possible use of other stimulants.

"They deal with the statistic as if I was talking about steroids," said Pound, referring to his one-third estimate. "I was talking about the full menu of performance-enhancing substances. Anybody with any experience in hockey knows that stimulants are perhaps the drug of choice, and they say they're dealing with it and they'll get around to it one of these days.

"As for the estimate, I'm always amused by them saying they're outraged I have no proof of this. This, from the NHL, an organization that for 30 or 40 years has resolutely bargained without the possibility of testing their players.

"Something is better than nothing," Pound said, "but this is a program so full of holes, you can't really take them seriously."


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