Latvian forward Vitalijs Pavlovs has been hit with a positive test at the Sochi Olympics.
According to a press release from the International Olympic Committee, the positive test came for a substance called methylhexanamine, commonly found in dietary supplements and geraniums.
The 24-year-old Pavlovs is the fourth Olympic athlete to hit a positive test, and the second to test positive for methylhexamaine after German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle.
Pavlovs, who plays for Dynamo Riga in the KHL, said one of his club team’s doctors recommended a supplement containing the compound, though the IOC still said he was negligent, and retroactively banned him from Latvia’s quarter-final game against Canada, a 2-1 loss.
For what it’s worth, Pavlovs’s only point was an assist on an empty-net goal by Lauris Darzins in Latvia’s 3-1 qualification round victory over Switzerland.
The International Ice Hockey Federation still has the right to further discipline Pavlovs for the test.
To put it in historical context, Pavlovs is the sixth hockey player to test positive during the Olympic period, before or after. Most notably, Mattias Ohlund tested positive for acetazolamide before the 2002 Olympics, though he wasn’t punished because it was in a medication he was taking after eye surgery.
Prior to the 2006 Olympics in Turin, former NHLer Bryan Berard tested positive for a nandrolone metabolite (Nandrolone is what busted Ben Johnson in 1988), and Jose Theodore tested positive for a banned hair loss product. However, neither was in serious contention to make their respective national teams anyway.
Hockey hasn’t been hit with nearly as much as scrutiny as football or baseball as it pertains to performance-enhancing substances, but the Olympics are a different animal, and Pavlovs’s positive test is a reminder that hockey isn’t perfect.