Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov has been banned from global play for four years after testing positive for cocaine while representing Russian Federation at the World Championship in May.
According to the IIHF, Kuzentsov tested positive for the substance on May 26, after being tested at the World Championships.
The IIHF announced the suspension on Friday and said Kuznetsov "didn't require the analysis of his B-sample and was provisionally suspended on 13th June 2019". Deputy commissioner Bill Daly released a statement noting that the league does not consider cocaine a performance-enhancing substance but rather a drug of abuse.
"Representing my country has always been so close to my heart and something I take so much pride in", Kuznetsov said.
"Yes, I saw the video on the internet", Kuznetsov said in his response, which was posted to sport-express.ru and translated by RMNB's Igor Kleyner. "What I'd say is drugs like cocaine are cyclical and you've hit a cycle where it's an "in" drug again".
In May, Kuznetsov appeared in a now-deleted video in which he sat in a hotel room near lines of a white, powdery substance. The footage was since taken down, Kuznetsov told Russian media that he entered the room in Las Vegas previous year and left as he saw substance.
The IIHF's four-year suspension means that the 27-year-old Russian ice hockey player, who is the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup victor, will banned from taking part in all matches supervised by the IIHF and KHL (Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League) and is most likely to skip the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in China's Beijing.
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Cocaine, Daly said, was considered a 'drug of abuse, ' which the National Hockey League tests for and for which 'intervention, evaluation and mandatory treatment can occur in appropriate cases'.
"While I have never taken illegal drugs in my life and career, I would like to publicly apologize to the Capitals, my teammates, our fans and everyone else, for putting myself in a bad situation", "This was a hard lesson for me to learn".
Daly also said that Kuznetsov has "voluntarily sought help" with the NHL's education and counseling program for players.
"In addition, we are committed to ensuring he has the necessary support required to work through this situation".
"This is simply very bad in the times, when we [Russia] keep struggling to improve our reputation", Fetisov, who is also a member of the Russian parliament's lower house (the State Duma), said.
Kuznetsov had 57 points (24 goals, 33 assists) in 70 games with the Capitals last season and six points (one goal, five assists) in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Penalties include vacating wins from the 2018 football season and the 2018-19 men's basketball season.