When the topic of performance-enhancing substances arises, we are almost never discussing hockey. For whatever reason, steroids and the NHL don’t go together. Either using PEDs is not a common practice in hockey, or testing is virtually ineffective. According to ex-enforcer Georges Laraque, steroid and illegal drug use was a problem in the NHL not too long ago.
As TSN shared with us, Laraque talks about steroid use in the NHL in his new book, “The Story of the NHL’s Unluckiest Tough Guy.”
“I have to say here that tough guys weren’t the only players using steroids in the NHL,” the former Canadien wrote. “It was true that quite a lot of them did use this drug, but other, more talented players did too. Most of us knew who they were, but not a single player, not even me, would ever think of raising his hand to break the silence and accuse a fellow player.”
Laraque explained that if you look at a player’s decrease in efficiency and weight loss, you’ll notice there is a significant drop every four years when the Winter Olympics are held. Obviously, the Olympics have a strict drug testing policy which would result in players being declared ineligible if they were caught.
Another claim Laraque made is that the NHL’s enforcers would use steroids to gain weight before making it to the pros and then rely on substances like Ephedrine to desensitize them before games in preparation of a fight.
“Before a game, as I would warm up on the ice, I would always look at the tough guy on the other side,” he said. “If his arms were trembling, if his eyes were bulging, I knew for sure he wasn’t going to feel any of the punches I would give him.”
Under the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, players are subject to three random tests from the start of training camp to the end of the regular season. Laraque acknowledges that the league has taken a stronger stance against the use of PEDs but says they must now be cautious of human growth hormone, which he believes has been more commonly used in recent years. Whether the NHL and NHLPA will look into his claims or chalk it up to a former player looking to make a quick buck remains to be seen.
Fist pound to Pro Hockey Talk for passing along the story.Google+