NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

With recreational cannabis set to become legal across the country on Wednesday, NHLers are aware of the change, but not concerned it will impact them for the time being.

“I think it’s just a new concept that everyone’s trying to wrap their head around,” Toronto Maple Leafs centre Nazem Kadri said. ”We just treat the rules as they have been in the past.”

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said last month that pot legalization won’t affect the league’s drug-testing policy run in conjunction with the NHL Players’ Association.

Marijuana, which can be detected in a person’s system for more than 30 days, is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency without a specific therapeutic use exemption and is illegal in much of the United States.

The NHL tests for marijuana, but a positive result doesn’t lead to a suspension on its own.

“It’s on our banned substances list,” said Vancouver Canucks defenceman Erik Gudbranson, adding that he doesn’t know of anyone in the league using pot. ”That’s just the way it’s going to be.”

Related: Private marijuana stores should shut down, Mike Farnworth says

Related: Marijuana legalization may go more smoothly than you think: Washington governor

Canada has seven NHL teams, while Colorado, home of the Avalanche, has allowed legal marijuana for medical and personal use since 2012.

“This will be brand new to North American sports, having it legal (across Canada),” NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said. ”We’re the sport that’s potentially affected the most because there are no NFL teams here in Canada, and there’s only one basketball team (the NBA’s Toronto Raptors) and one baseball team (MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays).”

“It’ll be interesting and it will be a transition,” Leafs winger Connor Brown added. ”It’s different because it’s tough to regulate something that’s not legal (in all jurisdictions) throughout the whole league.”

The NHL’s stance on cannabis is the most lenient of North America’s major professional sports leagues.

While the NFL and NBA can suspend and MLB can fine players for multiple marijuana infractions, only a significantly high amount of the drug found in NHL/NHLPA testing triggers a referral to behavioural health program doctors.

“Nobody has yet told me that marijuana is a performance enhancer,” Fehr said. “We’ll just have to see how it plays out.”

Medicinal marijuana is often mentioned as a potential alternative to using of opioids as pain killers.

The NHL, however, isn’t there yet, but along with the NHLPA is providing information to players about the change in legislation.

“There’s been rumblings of how it can be effective for professional athletes and whatnot,” Gudbranson said. ”But so is stretching, so is getting in a cold tub.”

Kadri said he’ll be interested to follow how the situation plays out across Canadian society as a whole.

“I’ve heard of situations where THC (pot’s psychoactive ingredient) has been good to (help prevent) seizures, and people for a medicinal purpose actually use it and actually better their lives because of it,” Kadri said. ”And I’ve also heard the opposite end of the spectrum where it could be dangerous with your lungs and the intake.”

—-

With files from Gemma Karstens-Smith and the Associated Press

—-

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Chef Lesnes is leaving the Garibaldi kitchen

He is retiring after 30 years.

Untrending: Welcome to the age of domotics

‘Smart home systems might even ensure a cleaned cat litter box.’

Work to start on Albion Community Centre next week

Politicians hold sod turning event on Saturday

Maple Ridge celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day

Ceremonies, music and dancing in Memorial Peace Park on Saturday

Burrards pull off blockbuster trade

Add elite NLL talent on offence and in goal

Protesters rally in Victoria over newly approved Trans Mountain pipeline

The Still No Consent! No Trans Mountain! 20 kilometre march will end at Island View Beach

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Most Read