News 25th March 2020

Hockey Canada Vice President sanctioned for obstructing a test

Scott Salmond, the Vice President of Hockey Canada, has been sanctioned with a two year ban expiring on 1 June 2020 for obstructing an attempt to test a Team Canda player. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) announced that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) had upheld an appeal from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to extend its one year ban, issued after Salmond instructed a player to refuse a test on 12 December 2017 in Moscow.

The player, who has not been named, was a member of the IIHF’s Registered Testing Pool (RTP) and as such, the IIHF argued that he was subject to out of competition (OOC) testing. The IIHF test attempt was the day before the start of the Channel One Cup in Moscow and Canada’s opening match, in which it beat South Korea 4-2. 

The IIHF Disciplinary Board ruled that Salmond’s intervention and orders to the player ‘established compelling justification’ under Article 2.3 of the World Anti-Doping Code for the player not to submit to sample collection. This decision was also appealed by WADA, but the CAS’s apparent dismissal of this challenge did not prevent Salmond from being charged under Article 2.9 of the Code, which covers ‘Assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, conspiring, covering up or any other type of intentional complicity involving an anti-doping rule violation’.

Salmond also appealed the IIHF’s sanction, arguing that he did not commit an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV), however this was dismissed by the CAS. ‘We do not condone doping in any way’, read a statement from Hockey Canada issued to the Canadian Press. ‘However, we do take the protection and integrity of our players, both on Canadian soil and overseas, very seriously. Throughout the disciplinary and appeal process, Hockey Canada has fully supported the actions taken by Scott Salmond to protect the best interests and safety of (the Canadian player) at the Channel One Cup in December 2017, and his decision to pursue an appeal of the original IIHF decision. Hockey Canada disagrees with the charge and subsequent conclusions by the CAS, but we have and will continue to honour the sanction.’

The IIHF statement said that because of the case’s ‘unique nature’, it had not publicised Salmond’s suspension previously. “The IIHF believes that all officials should be held to the same level of accountability and responsibility as players that participate in the World Championship and Olympic Games”, said IIHF President René Fasel in the statement. “In order to combat doping in sport, it is imperative that all stakeholders, from players to coaches to officials, support and show the utmost respect and cooperation for the anti-doping measures that have been put in place by the IIHF and WADA”.

The CAS Decision has yet to be published and none of the involved parties have explained why Salmond instructed the Team Canada player to refuse the IIHF test. Hockey Canada is an IIHF member federation, but the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) and the US National Hockey League (NHL) are not signatories to the World Anti-Doping Code. The overlap between two anti-doping regulatory regimes has previously created issues when North American players compete in Europe, although there is no indication that is the issue at stake in this case.

The Channel One Cup is part of the Euro Hockey Tour and is listed on the calendar of the Russian hockey federation’s (FHR) internet site. However, irrespective of who organises the tournament, the player involved was part of the IIHF’s RTP and the test took place before the start of the tournament, outside of competition. The Sports Integrity Initiative asked the IIHF to clarify the situation, but did not receive a response.

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