Hobey Baker winner Dryden McKay receives six-month sanction for violating anti-doping rule

Minnesota State goaltender Dryden McKay makes a save of a shot from a Minnesota player in the third period of an NCAA College Hockey Regional Final, Sunday, March 28, 2021, in Loveland, Colo. (David Zalubowski/AP Photo)

Dryden McKay, the 2022 Hobey Baker award winner, has accepted a six-month “period of ineligibility” for violating an anti-doping rule, the United States Anti-Doping Agency said Monday.

According to the USADA, McKay tested positive for a substance called ostarine, an anabolic agent which is prohibited at all times under the USADA’s protocols.

Osterine works by binding to androgen receptors in the body and, when it does, sends a signal for muscles to grow. Though it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it is known to be used to improve athletic performance and to reduce the effects of illness-induced involuntary weight loss.

The USADA said its investigation centred on a supplement product McKay was using prior to collection that did not list ostarine on its label, but was contaminated with the substance. The USADA Code contains a clause that grants the opportunity for a “substantial reduction” in the period of ineligibility in circumstances like that, though it was not immediately clear to what extent McKay’s may be reduced, if at all.

The product McKay used was Quercetin, a plant-based antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that some use as an immune-booster or recovery tool for COVID, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman learned.

McKay told Friedman he had been taking ostarine for that reason, in an effort to prevent infection from the novel coronavirus as the highly contagious Omicron variant surged across the country.

“I made the mistake of taking it,” he told Friedman. “But I could have never imagined that this would have been the result of taking something like that.”

McKay’s six-month period of ineligibility began on April 14, the day he accepted the sanction. He was granted a three-day credit for a provisional suspension served from January 31, 2022 through February 2, 2022, the USADA said.

McKay became just the third goalie in history to win the Hobey Baker Award, following Robb Stauber in 1988 and Ryan Miller in 2001.

McKay, a senior student from Downers Grove, Ill., went 38-5-2 with a 1.31 goals-against average and .931 save percentage this season, setting an NCAA Division I record for most wins in a season.

The 24-year-old also has the NCAA record for career shutouts (34).

McKay guided Minnesota State to the Frozen Four for the second year in a row this season, with the team losing 5-1 in the final against Denver.

McKay, a three-time finalist for the Mike Richter Award as the top goalie in college hockey, is undrafted in the NHL.

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