Press release from UKAD

Ice Hockey player Anthony DeLuca has been banned from all sport for a period of three months following a first Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) for the Presence of a Prohibited Substance in his urine Sample.

On 26 September 2021 UKAD collected an In-Competition urine Sample from Mr DeLuca at a game between Sheffield Steelers and Cardiff Devils at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield. Analysis of Mr DeLuca’s Sample returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for carboxy-THC, a metabolite of THC, the psychoactive compound found in cannabis.

THC is a Specified Substance that is prohibited In-Competition only under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 2021 Prohibited List.

On 8 December 2021, UKAD notified Mr DeLuca of the AAF and issued him with a Provisional Suspension from sport.

On 21 December 2021 UKAD charged Mr DeLuca with the commission of two ADRVs, for the Presence and Use of a Prohibited Substance. Mr DeLuca admitted the Presence ADRV, however disputed the Use ADRV and the proposed sanction. The case was therefore referred to the independent National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP) for a hearing.

Mr DeLuca’s case was heard by an NADP Tribunal on 8 June 2022. The NADP Tribunal found the Presence charge to be proved and concluded that Mr DeLuca’s ingestion of cannabis occurred Out-of-Competition in a context unrelated to sport. The NADP therefore imposed a three-month period of Ineligibility, in accordance with new rules introduced by the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code, which provides reduced sanctions for some recreational drugs known as Substances of Abuse.

Mr DeLuca did not respect the terms of his Provisional Suspension by playing in the East Coast Hockey League in the United States and Canada. Mr DeLuca’s ban is therefore deemed to have commenced on 21 June 2022, being the date of the NADP Decision, and will expire at 11:59 on 21 September 2022.

On the case, UKAD’s Chief Executive, Jane Rumble, commented: “Strict liability means an athlete is solely responsible for what is found in their system at all times, both in and out of competition, whether they had the intention to cheat or not.

“No drug, be it recreational or otherwise, is worth the risk to an athlete’s career, health or the reputation of their sport. They will be caught and face the consequences for not following the rules.”

Ice Hockey UK Clean Sport Lead, Dr Matt Robbins, said: “Ice Hockey UK are absolutely committed to the principles of Clean Sport.

“We continue to work closely with our colleagues at UKAD to protect the rights of our athletes to compete on a clean footing.”

Click here for more detail on the UKAD website.