MONTREAL (AP) — Retired NHL enforcer Georges Laraque says in a new book that steroid use was commonplace for years in hockey dressing rooms.
And it wasn’t limited to just the league’s bruisers, Laraque wrote in “The Story of the NHL’s Unlikeliest Tough Guy.”
“I have to say here that tough guys weren’t the only players using steroids in the NHL,” Laraque wrote. “It was true that quite a lot of them did use this drug, but other, more talented players did too.
“Most of us knew who they were, but not a single player, not even me, would ever think of raising his hand to break the silence and accuse a fellow player.”
The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association haven’t responded to Laraque’s claims. Testing for performance enhancing substances was included in the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the union in 2005.
Laraque played in 695 NHL games over 12 seasons with Edmonton, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Montreal. He had 53 goals, 100 assists and 1,126 penalty minutes.
Now a deputy leader of the federal Green Party, Laraque doesn’t accuse any players by name in the book. He said enforcers also used steroids to gain weight before arriving in the pros, and took substances such as Ephedrine so they would be desensitized before a fight.
“Before a game, as I would warm up on the ice, I would always look at the tough guy on the other side,” he wrote. “If his arms were trembling, if his eyes were bulging, I knew for sure he wasn’t going to feel any of the punches I would give him.”
Laraque also took a shot at Wayne Gretzky in the book, calling the former Phoenix Coyotes coach, “The worst coach I’ve ever played for.”