NHL signs deal with Cold-fX

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

The National Hockey League and its players are partnering with a leading cold remedy, insisting there is no connection with performance enhancers.

A multi-year brand marketing deal with Alberta-based CV Technologies Inc., maker of Cold-fX, was announced yesterday, in a year of renewed debate about the supposed 'rush' effects of cold medication such as the nasal decongestant Sudafed.

"International Olympic Committee testing has shown that the product does not contain performance-enhancing substances and its ingredients are allowed by drug testing programs of all sports," an NHLPA spokesperson said last night. "Several NHL players have used Cold-fX over the years, and we are pleased to form a marketing association with the brand as it prepares its launch into the U.S. market."

A CV spokesman said Cold-fX gained its Canadian reputation as a preventative measure and lists cyclist Clara Hughes and hockey icon Don Cherry among its satisfied customers. Athletes such as football players, figure skaters and ballet performers have used it to ward off colds after extensive training.

"It's a natural health product derived from ginseng," the spokesman said. "When Cold-fX was being developed in the 1990s, there were questions that it might get banned at the Olympics and we said, 'fine, do some tests.' "

A University of Manitoba study administered Cold-fX to 40 athletes for a month. Trial participants were tested for roughly 200 drugs on the IOC's list with no violations.

But Dick Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, has claimed up to one third of the NHL's 700 players use performance enhancing drugs, which the league strongly disputes. Pound said 1,406 negative tests administered during last season were meaningless given loopholes in the program.

CV says the Edmonton Oilers were the first NHL team to use Cold-fX after former general manager Glen Sather discovered it at an Edmonton pharmacy. Ex-Oiler and Ranger Mark Messier is slated to endorse the product for the NHL.


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