The Athletic released a large scale report on the prevalent drug use in the NHL, tapping more than 10 inside sources to get a full idea of the hidden use of drugs by athletes. The investigation was spurred on in August when it was revealed that Washington Capitals’ Evgeny Kuznetsov tested positive for cocaine usage in the Spring. After relaying the news, the International Ice Hockey Federation banned Kuznetsov for four years from international play. This news caused the Athletic to launch a large series of interviews to find out what exactly went on behind closed doors.
“At least 10 people interviewed for this piece cited cocaine as the vice of choice among NHL players, especially among the younger set. Molly (a pill form of MDMA, which is also known as ecstasy), was frequently mentioned as a drug surging in popularity as well. ‘It’s really the secret that everybody knows,’ said one recently retired NHL player who still is working in the game.”
Former NHL player Dan Carcillo, who now works as a player advocate, said the use of cocaine and molly is surging because of the “euphoric-type feeling they create.”
“It mimics that feeling when we get on the ice when our hearts are racing and there’s blood coursing through our veins,” Carcillo told The Athletic. “It’s that feel-good drug.”
The article goes on to detail a host of issues involving several NHL players’ experiences with “festival drugs” over the last several years. A 2016 survey on National Drug Use and Health, administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, revealed that the number of young Americans who tried cocaine for the first time took a massive jump, increasing 61 percent from 2013 to 2015. According to a player who chose to remain anonymous, alcohol was the only vice of choice before 2011. “It’s not like it’s a hockey thing. It’s a culture thing,” the player said, pointing to the usage rates among the general population as well.