No positive test results

During a visit to London, Ont., last November, World Anti-Doping Agency leader Dick Pound expressed...

During a visit to London, Ont., last November, World Anti-Doping Agency leader Dick Pound expressed his opinion that a third of NHL players were using performance-enhancing substances. The NHL's test results suggest otherwise. (London Free Press File/Derek Ruttan)

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

National Hockey League players ran up the score on Dick Pound with 1,406 clean drug tests to zero violations.

Canadian Press reported yesterday that none of the twice-tested players had positive urine tests after the NHL went to a new anti-doping program in January of this year.

"It confirms what we always thought to be the case: The NHL does not have a problem with doping," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an e-mail.

Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, wasn't immediately available for comment after saying in November that the league's program was "very seriously flawed" and that one third of players likely were taking performance-enhancing substances.

"Obviously, Mr. Pound owes us all a big apology," said defenceman Ken Klee, who was tested three times last season by the Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils and the U.S. Olympic team. "He's going to eat a little crow, I suspect. This is a tremendous attribute to the players."

A first-time offender under the league's policy faces a 20-game suspension, with 60 games for a second offence and a third offence leading to permanent suspension.

"We have always known that our sport does not have a problem in this area," said Ted Saskin, executive director of the NHL Players' Association. "Dick Pound should be embarrassed by his baseless and uninformed allegations."

Bryan Berard of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Jose Theodore of the Colorado Avalanche both failed tests last year, but they were administered by their respective national anti-doping organizations before the NHL policy was introduced and thus did not result in NHL suspensions. Berard's urine test on Nov. 12 showed traces of the steroid 19-norandrosterone and saw him banned from international competition for two years. Theodore, who was on Canada's preliminary 81-man Olympic eligibility list, failed a Dec. 9 test for a steroid commonly found in a hair-restoration drug.

Edmonton Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe called the results a vindication of hockey, in light of Pound's comments.

"I understand he has been running a crusade," Lowe said. "It's unfortunate the crusade spilled over on hockey. It's not to say there's not going to be a case that pops up, but for hockey to take any knock because of a misdirected crusade, it was unfortunate because there were a lot of good things happening this year. Eventually the truth comes out."


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