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

Lower Mainland suspect identified in fatal northern B.C. hit and run

Suspect and seven other individuals believed involved located on Haida Gwaii

Family of Cameron Kerr plead for driver to come forward

“Stand up and be a human.” Those were the only words that… Continue reading

Gwaii Haanas celebrates new Land-Sea-People plan

Forty per cent of Gwaii Haanas marine areas protected under new, integrated plan

Kitimat arena closed until further notice due to chilling system malfunction

Saturday night’s Terrace River Kings and Kitimat Ice Demons game was cancelled as a result

VIDEO: E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickens 18 people in Ontario, Quebec

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it’s working with U.S. authorities to determine the source of the romaine lettuce those who got ill were exposed to.

Feds give formal notice for law to end Canada Post strike

Trudeau government ready to legislate employees back to work after five weeks of rotating strikes

‘Bait and switch’ warning ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Competition Bureau of Canada is warning shoppers of illegal sale tactics

Legal battle ahead for suspended B.C. legislature executives

Public removal ‘very unfair,’ says veteran clerk Craig James

B.C. sees biggest spike in homicides across Canada, at 34%

Much of the killing was attributed to gang violence, according to Statistics Canada

Sea lion tangled in rope on Vancouver Island

Marine debris is a ‘significant problem’ for marine wildlife

Postal strike affects charities at critical fundraising time

Canadian fundraising professionals and charities join call for fast resolution

$90,000 pen from space created by B.C man

The Space pen is made from a meteorite

B.C. woman fined $2,300 for clocking 215 km/hr in Alberta

It’s the highest fine Alberta police have issued

Most Read