BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Buffalo Sabres Forward Zenon Konopka has been suspended for 20 games for violating the terms of NHL performance enhancing substances program.
The suspension is accompanied by mandatory referral to the NHL/NHLPA Program for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health for evaluation and possible treatment.
Konopka issued an apology through the NHLPA Thursday afternoon.
“I deeply regret that I have tested positive for a prohibited substance in violation of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. I accept full responsibility for this error. As a professional athlete I am responsible for what I put in my body, and I am to blame for this mistake.
“I want to make it clear that this violation occurred because I ingested a product that can be purchased over-the-counter and which, unknown to me, contained a substance that violated the program. Unfortunately, I did not take the necessary care to ensure that the product did not contain a prohibited substance. I want to stress, however, that I did not take this substance for the purpose of enhancing my athletic performance.
“I apologize to my teammates and to the Buffalo Sabres organization, as well as to my friends and family. I have learned a great deal from this experience, something I hope to be able to share with younger players. I will accept this suspension and continue to work hard to prepare for the 2014-15 season.”
Konopka’s contract expires at the end of the 2013-2014 season. The term of suspension will be served at the beginning of any new contract.