A former University of Calgary hockey player's career may be in jeopardy following a positive drug test.
More light was shed on Jarret Lukin's mysterious departure when the Dinos announced Fri., Feb. 9 that Lukin had tested positive for cocaine metabolites and faces a two-year period of ineligibility from Canadian Interuniversity Sport competition. Following the announcement, Lukin was also suspended indefinitely by the East Coast Hockey League, pending an investigation.
The suspensions stem from an unannounced drug test conducted by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport Nov. 3, 2006 following the Dinos' 3-0 win over the University of Regina Cougars. The test results were provided to the Dinos by the CCES Nov. 28 and Lukin was handed a provisional suspension by the team.
Lukin provided written confirmation to the CCES Dec. 4 that he had used cocaine, but appealed the sanction. The basis of the appeal was that he had not used the substance for performance enhancement and that the punishment for a violation involving marijuana--another recreational drug--was far less severe than for cocaine. Arbitrator John Welbourn denied the appeal at a hearing held Jan. 31.
"Every varsity athlete is bound by documentation to follow the rules of the CCES and [the World Anti-Doping Agency]," said Dinos athletic director Don Wilson. "Only under exceptional circumstances can an arbitrator reduce the mandatory sanction. The circumstances brought forth by [Lukin] were not deemed to be exceptional."
Under the terms of the Canadian Anti-Doping Program, Lukin is ineligible for CIS competition until November 2008. The CIS adopted the program in 2004 and has been testing since 1990. In that time, there have been 44 substance violations--including only four in ice hockey.
The last doping violation in ice hockey occurred in 2004/05, when University of Alberta player Doug Auchenberg tested positive for ephedrine and cannabis. Auchenberg confessed his use to the team before test results were released, and was handed a four-month suspension by the CCES and CIS.
According to the World Anti-Doping Agency's prohibited list, the basis for the CADP, cocaine is a class S6 stimulant prohibited in competition. While marijuana is on the prohibited list, it is also on WADA's specified substances list, which contains substances less likely to be successfully abused as doping agents.
"Canada is on record for trying to make the case that [cannabis] should not be on the prohibited list," said CCES communications and marketing director Rosemary Pitfield. "But it is still on the list so there are penalties for positive tests."
Lukin signed with the Florida Everblades Mon., Jan. 29 and tallied two points in three games, but was suspended by the team Sat., Feb. 10 when they learned of the suspension. When contacted, Everblades general manager Craig Brush said the situation has been turned over to the league.
While Lukin withdrew from school to pursue his hockey career, he only faces athletic sanctions, and is able to resume his studies in the future.