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Bryan Berard tests positive for 19-norandrosterone
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Bryan Berard has received a two-year suspension from competing in international events for failing a pre-Olympic drug test. Though Berard did not crack the final U.S. Olympic hockey team roster, the random test was conducted because he was a possible candidate for the U.S. team and was named to the initial group of eligible players. Anonymous sources say that a November 12, 2005 drug test returned postive for the banned substance 19-norandrosterone, which is considered an anabolic agent.
Berard has been through a tough NHL career, almost retiring after suffering a serious eye injury, but he has managed to resurrect his career. After being drafted #1 overall by the Ottawa Senators in 1995, Berard has played for several NHL teams including the New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and his current team, the Columbus Blue Jackets. This positive test won't have much of an impact on his hockey career as he is not an amateur career and by most estimates, the NHL will ignore this positive test. But the question that needs to be asked is, should the NHL use this test and apply its own rules? A good case can be made for the NHL to do so as this substance (19-norandrosterone) is on the NHL's banned list. Even though official NHL testing just started this past Monday, the players and the league had signed the CBA at the time of this Olympic test and was therefore in force (though not being enforced).
As expected, the NHL has decided not to take any action against Bryan Berard. Instead NHL bigwigs continue to try to play this down and are hiding behind the technicality of not having properly instituted the drug policy that they agreed to in the CBA last fall.