Minnesota State goaltender and Hobey Baker award winner Dryden McKay has been suspended from all hockey competition for six months after testing positive for a banned substance.
McKay accepted the suspension on Apr. 14, marking the start of the period of ineligibility. The 24-year-old played his last NCAA game on Apr. 9, in the Mavericks’ 5-1 loss to Denver in the Frozen Four national championship game.
McKay was reportedly notified in early February that a urine sample submitted on Jan. 23 returned a positive result for ostarine, a drug that stimulates muscle growth. Ostarine is not approved by the FDA and is considered a banned substance by the USADA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policy and the International Ice Hockey Federation Anti-Doping Regulations.
The amount of ostarine detected in the sample was trillionths of a gram and provided no performance benefit, according to the netminder.
This experience has been a very unexpected and difficult matter for me and my family," McKay said in a statement. "I am remaining optimistic and looking forward to beginning my pro career in the fall."
The Downers Grove, Illinois native was tested after being named an alternate player for the 2022 U.S. men’s Olympic hockey team, which he ultimately did not join, in Beijing.
McKay believed the drug could have entered his body through one of the supplements he was taking at the time. After he sent his sample away for an independent lab test, it was determined that ostarine was found in a vitamin D3 booster he had taken amid the Covid-19 Omicron variant wave.
Because McKay successfully proved the source of the contamination, an arbitrator lifted his suspension on Feb. 3 until USADA could make its final decision, resulting in McKay remaining eligible to compete and see out his senior season with Minnesota State, during which he established NCAA records for wins in a season with 38 and career shutouts with 34 while leading the team to the NCAA Frozen Four final.
"During USADA's investigation into the circumstances of the case, USADA received results from a WADA-accredited laboratory that a supplement product McKay was using prior to sample collection, which did not list Ostarine on the Supplement Facts label, was contaminated with that substance at an amount consistent with the circumstances of ingestion and his positive test. The Code provides the opportunity for a substantial reduction in the otherwise applicable period of ineligibility in this circumstance," USADA wrote in a statement released on Monday.
McKay was awarded the Hobey Baker Award as the season's top NCAA D1 men’s hockey player, and led his school to its first ever Frozen Four championship appearance this spring.
McKay is turning pro next season after wrapping up his college career. Because he was never picked in the NHL Draft, the netminder will be free to sign with any team as a free agent — and he'll surely be coveted.
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