(Reuters) - Russian forward Valentin Zykov of the Vegas Golden Knights has been suspended for 20 games without pay for violating the National Hockey League’s performance-enhancing drug policy, the league said on Thursday.
The NHL did not disclose what substance the 24-year-old Russian, who had two assists through his team’s first seven games this season, tested positive for.
“While I haven’t been able to discover how I tested positive, I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and will accept this penalty,” Zykov said in a statement released by the NHL Players’ Association.
“I want to apologize to my family, my team mates, and the Golden Knights organization and fans.”
Zykov was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings and has played 47 games during his career. He was claimed by Vegas off waivers last December.
The Golden Knights, who are third in the Pacific Division with eight points, said in a statement that they respected the NHL’s decision.
“Valentin knowingly used a banned substance without the consent, recommendation or knowledge of our team,” the team said. “We support the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program and respect the decision here.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond