After recognizing that the league is starting to develop a serious coke habit, the NHL has been proactively talking with the Players Association to add the narcotic and several other “party” drugs to the list of banned substances for which the league monitors, because, surprisingly, they don’t already.
Currently, if you test positive for cocaine — which is a problem unto itself as blow can exit your system in less than 24 hours — there’s no punishment other than being monitored in the league’s drug program, but only if “dangerously high” levels are detected in your urine sample. If a player is convicted of a drug-related offense, they’re automatically enrolled in the program, but not necessarily suspended. You can play — no harm, no foul — so long as you keep up with outpatient treatment, and your franchise might actually have zero knowledge of the positive test and your enrollment in the program.
So just how many players are on the NHL’s radar?
“The number of [cocaine] positives are more than they were in previous years and they’re going up,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told TSN in an interview. “I wouldn’t say it’s a crisis in any sense. What I’d say is drugs like cocaine are cyclical and you’ve hit a cycle where it’s an ‘in’ drug again.
“I’d be shocked if we’re talking about a couple dozen guys. I don’t want to be naïve here … but if we’re talking more than 20 guys I’d be shocked. Because we don’t test in a comprehensive way, I can’t say.”
I see you backtracking there, Billy. Shoot out an unbelievably low number and follow it with the “I can’t really say for sure because of the current testing.” Classic hockey speak. Just like how you never, EVER acknowledge injuries. Seriously, a defensemen could snap his leg off, pick it up on the way back to the bench, and say he’s day to day with lower body soreness but “that’s just the nature of the sport” in the locker room during the post game interview.
I understand playing this close to the vest, NHL, but it’s the worst kept secret that just about every employee of yours has fucked around with some Colombian snow at one point in their career. Not that that’s a bad thing. Of the four major sports, hockey players are easily the most down to earth and relatable athletes out there. So what if they like to party? Plus, if there’s a sport where cocaine should not only be accepted, but encouraged, it’s hockey. What can I say? I love big hits and fighting. Having the goons snorting lines directly off the blue line before dropping the gloves would only get more eyes on this beautiful game.
So don’t go a changing, NHL. I know you’ve been catching flak lately with some of your bigger names like Ryan Malone and Jarret Stoll getting popped with the booger sugar, but there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Own it.
“Yeah, we’re a bunch of coked out monsters with knives on our feet and sticks in our hands. What of it?”.
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