The Disciplinary Commission of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has finally announced its decision in the doping case concerning Latvian defenseman Ralfs Freibergs. He has been suspended for two years. With Freibergs indefinite suspension beginning last year, he will get credit for time served and as such is suspended until February 22, 2016.
IIHF Suspends Ralfs Freibergs For Two Years
Ralfs Freibergs is not allowed to take part in tournaments organized by the IIHF as well as any IIHF tournaments organized by its member countries. He will be ineligible to participate in the upcoming World Championships in Prague. With a start date in February and with Freibergs already missing last years championships, he would be eligible to play in the 2016 World Championship.
Freibergs tested positive for a banned substance at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He was found to test positive for the anabolic androgenic steroid called Turinabol.
Freibergs’ lawyer appealed the decision and attempted to argue that mistakes in the Sochi laboratory and their inability to carry out the kind of analysis that would lead to conclusive proof of his client’s use of Turinabol. However the IIHF’s announcement indicates that they have rejected the assumption that it was not a proper facility and is accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency, therefore there is no justified reason to doubt its confidence.
Freibergs’ samples were taken after the Latvian and Canadian quarter-final game, and after the A sample showed signs of Turinabol, a repeated check on the B sample was also positive.. Freibergs was originally sentenced to a temporary sanction without a specific deadline while his appeal was heard.
The Latvian defensemen wasn’t the lone sinner on the roster – as forward Vitalijs Pavlovs was also caught using something. Noone really knows what exactly it was, but the doctor of his KHL club – Dinamo Riga took the guilt for the infraction. Unfortunately, this did not prevent the IIHF from giving Pavlovs a one and a half year suspension. Pavlovs’ term ends on October 31, 2015.
Both Latvian players have now moved to North America. Pavlovs left Dinamo Riga as he would be forced to miss a whole season and Freibergs went to Flyers camp in summer, where he didn’t impress the front office. He later went to the Winnipeg Jets camp and later signed a two way AHL/ECHL deal with their AHL affiliate the St. John’s Ice Caps. Freibergs played only six AHL games this season and had just two points (0G, 2A). He has spent most of his time in the lower league representing Ontario Reign, where he has appeared in 42 games, scoring three goals and recording nine assists.