The NHL handed down a 20-game suspension to Toronto Maple Leafs forward Carter Ashton for violating terms of the league’s performance enhancing substances program.
From the NHL:
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Carter Ashton has been suspended for 20 games, without pay, for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the suspension is accompanied by mandatory referral to the NHL/NHLPA Program for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health for evaluation and possible treatment.
Based on his average annual salary, Ashton will forfeit $169,185.
Ashton released a statement through the NHLPA.
“I suffered an asthmatic spasm in late August while in a training session getting prepared for the 2014-15 NHL season. One of the other athletes I was training with gave me an inhaler in order to help open my airway, which provided me with immediate relief from my asthma attack. I kept this inhaler and used it a second time early in the training camp upon experiencing another asthma episode. Unfortunately, I incorrectly assumed that there were no problems associated with the use of this inhaler and I used it without checking to see whether its contents were permissible under the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.
I now recognize that I ingested Clenbuterol, a prohibited substance, through the inhaler. However, at no time was I seeking to gain an athletic advantage or to knowingly violate the terms of the program. I used the inhaler in response to exercise-induced asthma, a condition that my doctor with the Toronto Maple Leafs has since diagnosed and he has prescribed me with an inhaler.
As a professional hockey player, I recognize that I am responsible for what I put into my body, and I will not appeal my suspension. While I am extremely disappointed that I have let my teammates, our fans and the Maple Leafs organization down, I will work very hard during my suspension to stay in game shape so that I can help out the team when I am able to return.”
We’ll have more on the story as it unfolds.