Ice hockey-Russia's world under-18 squad replaced amid meldonium fears

Fri Apr 8, 2016 5:13pm EDT
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By Dmitriy Rogovitskiy

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia have replaced their men's under-18 ice hockey squad with the under-17s for this month's world championships amid concerns the players could test positive for meldonium, the Russian Ice Hockey Federation (RIHF) said on Friday.

The RIHF announced in a statement that players at the national training camp took meldonium under an official program but stopped in the autumn when it was announced the drug would be placed on the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) banned list from January 1 2016.

"The Russian Ice Hockey Federation has made the decision, in conjunction with the Sports Ministry to change the roster of the U-18 side in order to protect their rights," the Russian ice hockey governing body said.

The United States will host the world championships from April 14 to 24 in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

"As prescribed by the doctors, players of the Viktor Tikhonov center used the Mildronate drug (meldonium) so as to protect the heart muscle in periods of high exertion," the RIHF statement added. "Supplies of the drug were carried out officially in accordance with the Federal Medical-Biology agency.

"After Mildronate was included in the banned drugs category by the (World) Anti-Doping agency in autumn of 2015, the players stopped using this drug."