Russian forward Danis Zaripov, a three-time world champion, has been suspended for two years after he failed a doping test last season in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), according to a media report on Tuesday.
The R-Sport news agency quoted KHL as saying that the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) had decided to suspend Zaripov until May 22, 2019, after one of his samples was found to contain banned stimulants, as well as substances prohibited as diuretics and masking agents.
Zaripov’s suspension is a rare case of a doping ban among high-profile Russian national hockey players and comes as the country says it has taken measures to curb the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
The Russian government this month adopted a sweeping plan aimed at curbing doping, while President Vladimir Putin barred dopers and their coaches from receiving Kremlin grants.
The 36-year-old Zaripov, who had 16 goals and 29 assists in 56 games with runners-up Metallurg Magnitogorsk last season, won three world championships with Russia and represented the country at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, where the team lost to Canada in the quarter-finals.
“All those who violate (anti-doping regulations) must be punished, regardless of their names and titles,” R-Sport quoted Russian sports minister Pavel Kolobkov as saying following Zaripov’s suspension.
The KHL and IIHF could not be immediately reached for comment when contacted by Reuters on Tuesday.