The National Ho Hockley League, not known for steroids or doping will lay off steroids testing now that the playoffs are on-going. In fact, the NHL will lay off dope testing for over 5 months. Some experts say that is a ridiculous policy in 2009. To the Columbus Dispatch:
The NHL's performance-enhancing drug policy, enacted three years ago by the league and players union, does not permit testing during the playoffs and off-season. It's a five-month window in which the only enforcement against doping is the honor system.
Doping experts do not endorse that approach:
"You would have to be an idiot to get caught under a system like that -- an absolute moron," said Charles Yesalis, a Penn State University professor who specializes in the use and impact of performance- enhancing substances. "To me, you have to go far beyond that testing system to have a true sense of whether players are not doping."...
National doping experts say the NHL policy is "woefully inadequate" and too flawed to allow a judgment on what percentage of players might be using steroids, stimulants or other banned substances.
"I think most people in professional sports wish the problem away," said Dr. Gary Wadler, a New York official with the World Anti-Doping Agency and an expert on drug use in sports. "They tweak their programs to take the heat off, but there hasn't been any heat on hockey."
Under current policy, an NHL team can receive up to three no-notice tests a season. The Blue Jackets were given the league maximum last season but only one test this season.
Is there a doping or steroids problem in the NHL?
Since the drug policy went into effect, only one player, former NHL defenseman Sean Hill, tested positive for a banned substance, in 2007. Hockey's doping record stands in contrast to the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the Olympics and other international sporting events in which cheaters routinely are caught.
So, are hockey players that honest or is the policy that ineffective?
"I'd say we're that clean," said Nash, who added that he has never considered using banned substances and would support a year-round testing program. "I have been here for five or six years, and I haven't seen anything once."
The Dispatch conducted an anonymous survey of the Jackets, and not a single player thought that the league has a doping problem.
Obviously NHL hockey players could use steroids to bulk up in the long off-season, then slip by during the sparsely monitored playing season. Problem or not?
Read more of the comprehensive report at the Dispatch's site.