Steroids and the NHL
Former NHLer Dave Morissette penned a book with Mathias Brunet, titled Mémoires d’un Dur à Cuire (Memories of an Enforcer), which was released Monday (not available on amazon.com yet).
While Major League Baseball is currently having it’s issues with steroids, something Morissette admits to using, he points out that the National Hockey League has a problem with stimulants, like Sudafed and Ripped Fuel, something that’s been well-known for quite some time.
Morrissette also suggests steroids are common in hockey, even though he claims never to have seen the muscle-building drugs used by his teammates.
“You don’t do anything in the locker room,” he told CBC Newsworld. “It’s taboo.”
But Morrissette does admit he used steroids to bolster his chances of earning a spot in the NHL.
“I saw some of my future rivals – such as John Kordic – training in the gym. I was going to have to be as large as him.”
At the time, Morrissette believed the drugs would make him a better player. Now he believes steroids robbed him of his career.
“[Steroids] didn’t help me. They didn’t make me a better hockey player.”
Morrissette says his body couldn’t support all the extra muscle he gained through steroid use.
“I had injuries ... all kinds of surgeries,” he said. “I wouldn’t have had [all the injuries] without steroids.”
(The CBC story spells Morissette’s name correctly in the first few paragraphs of their story, but then they add an extra “r” in there and keep it throughout the rest)
Due to MLB hearings and increased scrutiny the NHL will most likely have to deal with both steroids and stimulants.
Defenceman Stephane Quintal of the Los Angeles Kings said at the book launch he’d like to see a tough testing program. He spent the season in Italy, where a doping offence carries a two-year suspension.
“There’s no first offence or second offence, you’re gone,” said Quintal. “The NHL should come out with something like that - like the Olympics.”
When asked if doping was common in the NHL, Quintal said: “Sudafed is something a lot of guys use but steroids, I’ve seen it a couple of times but on tough guys, but not on skill guys.”
Not so, according to one former NHLer TIB spoke to, along with a couple of other hockey media insiders. One trophy winner from last season is supposedly a well-known doper, and used as an example of a skill guy taking steroids, and they pointed out that the average tough guy treats his body better than most. Exceptions? You bet, but their words were clear: this is not an isolated issue in the NHL and not confined to one type of player.
This anonymous player went on to question whether it should even be defined as a problem. He said “obviously steroid abuse is bad”, but went on to say “why are they going to stop what people want to see?” and suggested that fans want to see large, gladiator-like players, almost super-human.
Florida Panthers defenseman Eric Cairns, who’s currently playing with the London Racers, recently spoke to TIB about the NHL possibly having a problem with players abusing steroids. Cairns said steroids aren’t a big issue in the NHL and that he doesn’t know many who have done them.
“You just can’t be bulky and be a hockey player,” said Cairns. “I think they’ll put something about testing into the new [CBA] when they get that done.”
Hopefully something the league and PA can easily come to an agreement about.
Addition: Tough guy Dennis Bonvie says he’s fought enforcers on steroids, which is basically a few comments from Bonvie along with Morissette and Quintal comments. When I spoke with Bonvie a couple of years ago I asked him about steroids and if he thinks there’s a steroids problem. His response:
“No, I don’t think there’s a steroids problem. If there is, I don’t know about it. It’s not my business. I’m sure there’s the odd guy that is, as every sport has. I definitely don’t think there’s a problem though. Should they check for it? Sure, but it’s not my decision. I don’t think guys should do that to themselves, but that’s just my opinion. I see how come guys could have a lot of heart, but not be strong enough and think that’s how they could make it. I go out and battle for what I can get, and I know I’m not going to use them.”
Update 2: Kelly Chase is on 640 Toronto with Jeff Marek and Rick Vaive saying that Morissette’s just looking for attention and that the NHL doesn’t have a problem. Chase said training regiments are much better now than they’ve ever been and he doesn’t know of anyone who’s taken steroids, including Tony Twist, who’s always had people questioning him regarding steroid use. Best line from the segment in regards to Chase’s physique: Chase saying that Al MacInnis told him he’s never looked over at him in the shower and said “I’ve got to have that.”