Russian forward Danis Zaripov, who received a two-year suspension from the IIHF for testing positive for WADA-banned substances last season in the KHL, is now eligible to sign in the National Hockey League.
The NHL made the announcement Monday afternoon. Zaripov, who is 36 years old, was suspended in July “from the participation in all competitions or activities authorized and organized by IIHF and IIHF Member National Associations.”
He has appealed the suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, with the NHL stating that appeal is still pending.
Zaripov has spent his entire professional career in Russia, including the last four years with Magnitogorsk Metallurg.
Following due consideration of all of the available evidence (including Mr. Zaripov’s own appearance and testimony — which, as discussed below, the IIHF Disciplinary Board did not have the benefit of), it has been determined that Mr. Zaripov is hereby deemed eligible to sign and play professional hockey in the NHL, effective immediately, and without imposition of any NHL-imposed suspension or penalty.
In determining that Mr. Zaripov is immediately eligible for play in the NHL, several important factors were relied on. First, and perhaps most importantly, it should be noted that because of the differences between the NHL’s Prohibited Substances List and the WADA Code, the Player’s initial test result likely would not have triggered a suspension under the NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement because, among other things, pseudoephedrine (the presence of which was below WADA’s applicable threshold in any event) is not on the League’s Prohibited Substances List.
Zaripov is an accomplished goal scorer and point producer in the KHL. Despite growing older, he has scored 20 or more goals in three of his last four seasons with Magnitogorsk.
It will be interesting to see how much interest he garners in the NHL, with Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reporting over the weekend that the Rangers and Golden Knights are expected to pursue the winger.