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Georges Laraque says the NHL has a drug problem

Nov 5, 2011, 2:33 PM EDT

Georges Laraque Getty Images

Georges Laraque has been a social crusader since retiring from the NHL and now he’s striking a blow against the league in his new book. In his book, Laraque says the league has a serious problem with performance enhancing drugs, in particular he says steroids are prevalent amongst both the talented players and brawlers alike.

Apparently Laraque is aiming to be the Jose Canseco of hockey with such a bombshell of a book.

Laraque’s claims are huge and in a league where performance enhancing drugs don’t really get much discussion at all, having a former player blowing the whistle like this is something the league should take serious. While hockey players aren’t hitting home runs and challenging long-held records like those in baseball, hockey has another issue that could tie into things when it comes to concussions.

If you’ve got a horde of players out there juiced up and punishing each other on the ice, the possibility that some guys are on steroids makes that issue a bit more curious to ponder. There’s no link to steroids and concussions, but there’s certainly the added danger of having guys being artificially stronger and faster and hitting each other.

One difference between hockey and baseball, however, is that the NHL was proactive in getting mandatory drug testing put into the CBA in 2005. After all the issues baseball had with drugs, the NHL and NHLPA were wise to make sure they kept up with the times. If Laraque’s allegations are at all true, then both sides will need to revisit the issue this summer during CBA talks.

Until there are more players busted on drug tests, however, fans will find it hard to take Laraque at his word about how prevalent drugs are in the league.

  1. jpelle82 - Nov 5, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    i used to pop a bunch of sudafeds before every game i played because it gave me all kinds of fidgety energy and helped me breathe easier….do you consider that a drug problem?

    • lapsncaps - Nov 5, 2011 at 4:14 PM

      I loved taking sudafed before games when i played on all levels including for college. Not just from that standpoint, but playing all those games and sharing waterbottles it was easy to get sick so it was also a preventative thing.

      Sudafed was banned around the 2000 season (correct me if i am wrong) and there was a major outrage by the NHLPA, none of the players wanted it, and to them it was just something everyone would take. No one was secretive about it, everyone had it out in the open.

      But I am actually a little surprised that there would be other performance enhancing drugs in the NHL. With all the international play that happens in the summer with the world cup of hockey, IIHF World Championships, and the Olympics, to even compete in those events you have to pass the same drug testing done in the Olympics.

  2. hockeyfan9170 - Nov 5, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    Tiger Woods is rumored to have used so should we be surprised NHL players use? I can hear this topic on Around The Horn and PTI on Monday. Thanks George.

  3. bcjim - Nov 5, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    Geez, hockey players are dumber than I thought. A decongestant its not going to have any preventative effect.

  4. damnyankee13 - Nov 5, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    this doesnt deserve a comment

  5. stakex - Nov 5, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    While this sounds like just a stunt to sell books… I wouldn’t doubt if there is some truth to it (I also wouldn’t doubt Laraque having done it himself).

    Lets face it. The NHL wants its players bigger, faster, and stonger… and behind closed doors the reality is they do not care how they get there. Its just like Baseball. Why did it take so long to deal with the problem in baseball? Because the league just loved seeing Bonds and McGuier breaking records. They love the amount of home runs behing hit by the steroid users. It was great for ticket sales and TV raitings. Baseball has made a fortune due to the use of steroids, and if not for the massive amount of outcry to do something about it… they wouldn’t have. Hockey is likely the same. If steroids are making players better, and helping boost ratings… the NHL will be slow to do anything about it, and will try to keep a lid on it as long as possible.

    With that said, who knows how bad the problem actually is in hockey. I would imagine there is some steroid and HGH use going on… but how wide spread is it? We will likely never know.

  6. sfbookreviews - Nov 6, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    “Apparently Laraque is aiming to be the Jose Canseco of hockey with such a bombshell of a book.”

    That’s only apparent to you since Canseco named names and Georges does not. Hardly the same thing. Shouldn’t an editor catch such inanity?

  7. spoiledbratswhosuck - Nov 7, 2011 at 7:17 AM

    Steroids KILL, period. Even hockey is not immune to the destruction of Steroids. Roid rage is very prevelenet in the NHL. Any idiot who has watched the game the last 20 years would know this. I stopped watching the great game a few years back. No more finesse, no more little guys, just bigger and bigger players with less talent and hotter tempers.

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