Leafs’ Ashton gets 20-game PED ban

New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – Toronto Maple Leafs forward Carter Ashton
was suspended 20 games without pay by the NHL for using a banned performance-
enhancing substance that the player says came from an asthma inhaler.

The NHL said Thursday the suspension will cost Ashton over $169,000 based on
his salary and comes with an automatic referral for substance-abuse evaluation
and possible treatment under the collective bargaining agreement.

Ashton, 23, said in a statement released through the NHL players’ union that
he will not appeal the suspension.

He said he suffered an asthma attack during training in August and used an
inhaler given to him by another athlete that he later discovered contained the
banned substance Clenbuterol.

Ashton said the inhaler provided him with immediate relief of his asthma
symptoms and that he used it a second time early in training camp for the same

“Unfortunately, I incorrectly assumed that there were no problems associated
with the use of this inhaler and I used it without checking to see whether its
contents were permissible under the league’s performance-enhancing substances
program,” Ashton said.

Clenbuterol is a widely banned substance the World Anti-Doping Agency says can
be publicized as a weight-loss drug.

Ashton said he was not trying to gain an athletic advantage or to knowingly
violate the league’s program. He said he has since been diagnosed by a Maple
Leafs’ doctor with exercise-induced asthma.

“As a professional hockey player, I recognize that I am responsible for what I
put into my body, and I will not appeal my suspension,” he said. “While I am
extremely disappointed that I have let my teammates, our fans and the Maple
Leafs organization down, I will work very hard during my suspension to stay in
game shape so that I can help out the team when I am able to return.”

Ashton has appeared in three games for the Maple Leafs this season and in 50
since the 2011-12 season, and has three career assists. He was suspended last
November for two games for boarding Calgary Flames defenseman Derek Smith.