MOSCOW, March 12 (R-Sport) - Belarus national hockey team player Andrei Mikhalyov has been suspended by the International Ice Hockey Federation after testing positive for a banned substance at an Olympic qualifying tournament.
Right wing Mikhalyov, 35, is a regular in top-level international competition who has played at seven world championships and the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
He tested positive while with the Belarus team at the final Olympic qualifying tournament in Copenhagen last month, at which Belarus narrowly failed to reach Sochi 2014.
“The player was tested positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine,” the IIHF said Monday in a website statement.
“Mikhalyov is barred from club and international play pending a final IIHF Disciplinary Panel decision on further disciplinary measures.”
Mikhalyov plays in the KHL with Dynamo Minsk and had brief spells in the U.S. and Canadian junior leagues as a youngster in the 1996-97 season.
The case is not the first incidence of doping in the Belarusian hockey team. At the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, player Vasily Pankov was disqualified after testing positive for banned steroid nandrolone and team doctor Evgeny Lositsky was banned from the 2006 and 2010 Olympics for supplying Pankov with the drug.
Belarusian sport has seen a rash of recent doping bans for leading athletes. London 2012 Olympic shot put gold medalist Nadzeya Ostapchuk was stripped of her medal for doping after the Games. Retests from the 2005 world athletics championships showed up positive last week for three Belarusian athletes including Ostapchuk.