The NHL has its first doping infraction but it's not even from its own testing.
Defenceman Bryan Berard of the Columbus Blue Jackets tested positive in November for the banned substance 19-norandrosterone, an anabolic agent found in a supplement he apparently took last spring, sources told The Canadian Press on Thursday. The Nov. 12 drug test was administered as part of the United States Anti-Doping Agency's out-of-competition testing program.
The USADA was to announce the doping result at a Friday news conference. Berard was also slated to talk to the media Friday.
Neither the NHL or the NHL Players' Association would offer comment Thursday night.
The native of Woonsocket, R.I., has been banned from international hockey for two years, which means no Olympics or IIHF world championships.
Berard was tested because he was on USA Hockey's preliminary roster for the Olympic team released in October but he was not named to the team last month.
Sources indicate he will not face any discipline from the NHL because the test was not part of the league's program, which began Jan. 15. A first-time offender under the league's testing faces a 20-game suspension. It's 60 games for a second offence and a permanent ban for a third offence.
The test will no doubt feed into Dick Pound's campaign. The world anti-doping chief from Montreal said in November that he suspected as many as one-third of the NHL's 700 players may take some form of performance-enhancing substance, a claim players and league executive vehemently denied.
It's believed about 100 NHL players have been tested since being named to various Olympic preliminary rosters and Berard was the only one to fail a test.
A supplement Berard took while working out last spring in California during the NHL lockout contained the banned substance, according to sources, which stayed in his system until the November test.
Berard was part of the U.S. Olympic team in 1998, but not in 2002.
In 550 NHL games, he has scored 68 goals and 225 points while playing for Columbus, Toronto, New York Rangers, Boston, Chicago and the New York Islanders.