The KHL has vowed to tighten doping controls at the Gagarin Cup final after Avangard Omsk player Anton Belov tested positive for a banned stimulant during the series, the league said on Monday.
Belov tested positive after the fourth game between Avangard and Dynamo Moscow on Thursday, but no players were tested after Saturday’s fifth game at Avangard’s arena, Dynamo president Mikhail Tyurkin told RIA Novosti on Sunday, calling the lack of testing “outrageous.”
“In relation to the players of both teams taking part in the 2012 Gagarin Cup final series, including during the period of the competition, the anti-doping measure will be strengthened,” the KHL said in a statement on its website.
The league did not specify how the measures would be strengthened.
Belov’s teammates were told of his positive doping test before Saturday’s game, when he was not included in the squad and Avangard lost 3-2 and missed the chance to lift the Gagarin Cup, Avangard player Martin Skoula told RIA Novosti on Sunday.
“It was before the game, they let us know that he is not in the lineup,” Skoula said. Asked whether the team was told it was because of a failed test, Skoula said: "Yes."
It is the second major doping incident to involve Avangard in the KHL's four-year history.
In 2008, the team's 19-year-old forward Alexei Cherepanov suffered a heart attack during a KHL game and died soon after. Cherepanov, a first-round NHL draft prospect for the New York Rangers, was found to have had a previously undetected heart condition.
Federal investigators declared that Cherepanov had engaged in doping over several months. The KHL suspended Avangard president Konstantin Potapov, general manager Anatoly Bardin and two team doctors shortly afterwards.
Belov has played regularly for Avangard since the KHL was formed in 2008, with 45 points in 212 games.