SUN Hockey Pool

Pound pulls no punches

Dick Pound is still accusing the NHL for not cracking down on stimulant use. (QMI Agency/Ken...

Dick Pound is still accusing the NHL for not cracking down on stimulant use. (QMI Agency/Ken Wightman)

MIKE NORRIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:00 PM ET

KINGSTON, Ont. -- Four years after saying he believed that as many as a third of NHL players may be taking performance-enhancing drugs, the former chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency says the league still won't admit it has a problem.

"I'd stick with my numbers. Hockey has been in denial for a long time," said Dick Pound, an International Olympic Committee member who was the keynote speaker at the Queen's Sports Industry Conference Thursday night.

During a question-and-answer period following his speech, Pound was asked if he still felt the same way about performance-enhancing drugs in the NHL.

"I was attacking the closest thing to organized religion as you can," he said of his original claim, made in January 2006.

Pound said he wasn't referring to steroids, but rather stimulants, for which the NHL doesn't test.

"Sudafed cocktails," said Pound. "Those are performance-enhancing drugs."

In the past few years, a pair of former NHL players, Dave Morissette and Stephane Quintal, have said that the use of stimulants, including Sudafed, is common in the league.

The NHL's drug-testing policy, which began in 2006, doesn't test for performance-enhancing drugs during the playoffs or off-season.

The only player caught violating the NHL's anti-doping policy was New York Islanders defenceman Sean Hill in the spring of 2007. He received a 20-game suspension after testing positive for the banned anabolic steroid boldenone.

When asked about drugs in sports, Pound said, "there are always people willing to cheat, just like in society. There's some portion of sociopaths or whatever they may be."

"If you want to participate (in sports), the deal is you follow the rules."

Pound is a director of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The Winter Olympics begin Feb. 12.

He hopes Canada ends its streak of never having won a gold medal while hosting an Olympics. Canada failed to win any events during the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal or the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

"It could happen early," he said of ending the drought. "I think (freestyle skier) Jen Heil competes on the first day."

Heil, who won gold in moguls on the first day of competition in Turin in 2006, will race in Vancouver on Feb. 13, the first full day of competition.

"I hope everything goes well," Pound said when asked what he expected from the Games. "I hope conditions are good and that no one gets screwed by the figure skating judges."


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