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NHLPA is glad Backstrom got his silver medal, disappointed by timing of ban

Mar 14, 2014, 8:22 PM EST

Sweden men's ice hockey player Nicklas Backstrom skates during a team practice at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Reuters

The NHLPA released statements from Donald Fehr and Nicklas Backstrom following the IOC’s decision to award the Washington Capitals forward and Swedish Olympian his silver medal.

Long story short, both Fehr and Backstrom, 26, expressed relief that the mistake was pointed to the Swedish doctor involved while also lamenting the fact that the matter couldn’t be cleared up in time for him to play in the gold medal game.

Here’s word from Fehr:

“We are certainly pleased that Nicklas Backstrom’s name has been cleared by the IOC ruling, allowing him to receive the silver medal that he earned with his Swedish teammates. The decision by the IOC Disciplinary Commission makes it clear that Nicklas was open and cooperative throughout the process and had clearly disclosed on his doping control form the Zyrtec-D medication he had been taking for his allergies. Moreover, it is also welcome that the decision makes clear that Nicklas had both requested and received specific advice from the Swedish Chief Medical Officer that the allergy medication he was taking would not give rise to an adverse analytical finding. Backstrom did nothing inappropriate, but merely asked for and followed medical advice from his team doctor.

It is unfortunate that his test results were not disclosed until just prior to the gold medal game on February 23, 2014, four days after the test was done. Had this matter been presented in a timely manner, it is possible that steps could have been taken to resolve this issue before the gold medal game.

Over the next few days we will of course review the decision in detail and discuss it with Nicklas.”

And here’s what Backstrom had to say:

“While I will always be disappointed that I wasn’t able to play in the gold medal game with my fellow countrymen, I’m pleased that my name has been cleared by the IOC. It is important to me that the IOC has acknowledged that I had asked for and received specific advice from my team doctor that taking this allergy medication would not be a violation. In addition, I had disclosed my use of over-the-counter medication prior to being tested.

Over the next few days I will review this decision in detail with the NHLPA.”

  1. bird500 - Mar 15, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    I would have enjoyed seeing him display his talent in the gold medal game. I don’t think it would have affected the outcome too much though. Maybe a goal or so….

    Some of the drugs on the banned list are there based on questionable science and testing. Seriously, how much can a trace of a drug that has minimal (if any) effect on performance have on an athlete at his level? On a regular civilian it might make a difference, but an elite athlete? It is time for an overhaul of the banned substances list using credible studies and testing.

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