The season hasn’t even begun, and the National Hockey League has already handed down a suspension. According to the September 2, 2018 press release, Nate Schmidt of the Vegas Golden Knights has been suspended for “violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.” Schmidt is banned from playing the first 20 games of the regular season and will not be paid. Schmidt is allowed to take part in Training Camp activities with the exception of the pre-season games.
According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Schmidt is required to be evaluated by the NHL/NHLPA Program for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health and if necessary be required to seek treatment.
Immediately after the NHL announcement, the Golden Knights issued their own statement recognizing the suspension.
“While we respect the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program and are committed to its success, we strongly disagree with the suspension. We firmly believe that the presence of a trace of the banned substance was accidental and unintentional,” the organization stated. “Based on our conversations with Nate, analysis from independent medical experts and sworn testimony from the parties involved, we believe it is clear Nate was not able to reasonably ascertain how the substance entered his body.”
“Nate is an honest person with high moral character and great integrity. We will stand by him and support him during this time,” they continued.
One does have to wonder what the substance was and if there are methods of coming in contact with it other than having used it. The testing has become a necessary part of sports in general, and as the tests become more refined, traces of substances are found more easily.
Unfortunately, even the most honest of players end up under a haze of suspicion because of the many athletes who have previously been found guilty of using, insisting they were innocent, only to be ultimately have been lying. It would be nice to see that if Schmidt’s test was accidentally positive that such will be released and that if he unintentionally did come in contact that he can determine how that happened so that he does not have to go through this again.