NHL suspends ex-Spartan Horcoff 20 games

The Detroit News
Shawn Horcoff

Anaheim Ducks forward Shawn Horcoff, formerly of Michigan State, was suspended for 20 games Tuesday for violating the terms of the NHL’s performance-enhancing substances program.

The 37-year-old Horcoff acknowledged his mistake in a statement issued by the NHL Players’ Association. He claimed he tried an unspecified treatment to speed up his recovery from an injury last fall.

“Although I was unaware that this treatment was not permitted under NHL rules, that is no excuse whatsoever,” Horcoff said. “I should have done my research, and I should have checked with the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program’s doctors. I accept full responsibility for my actions, and I am sorry.”

Horcoff is the third player to be suspended under the program approved by the league and union in the most recent collective bargaining agreement. Zenon Konopka of the Buffalo Sabres and Carter Ashton of the Toronto Maple Leafs were suspended in 2014.

Horcoff will lose $357,526.88 of his $1.75 million salary during his suspension. The veteran forward is in his first season with the Ducks after 13 years in Edmonton and two more with Dallas.

Horcoff has six goals and four assists this season while playing in 45 of the Ducks’ 46 games, providing solid veteran depth.

Ducks general manager Bob Murray signed Horcoff to a one-year deal in the offseason during a shakeup of his roster. Anaheim finished one game short of the Stanley Cup Final last season, losing Game 7 of the Western Conference finals at home to eventual champion Chicago.

“The Anaheim Ducks organization fully supports the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program,” Murray said in a statement. “We will also continue to support Shawn as a player and person throughout this process.”

The Ducks were in Boston on Tuesday for their final game before the All-Star break. Anaheim has made a 9-3-1 run since Christmas to return to playoff contention after a dismal start to the season.

Horcoff would be eligible to return to Anaheim’s lineup March 11 for a road game against St. Louis under the Ducks’ current schedule. Anaheim also must make up a game postponed last week in Washington due to a snowstorm.

“Throughout my entire career, I have felt genuinely blessed and honored to play the great game of hockey, and I regret the impact that this may have on my team and our fans,” Horcoff added. “I look forward to the day I return to the ice for the playoff push.”

Horcoff’s absence could create more playing time for Mike Santorelli or new acquisition Ryan Garbutt.

Horcoff signed a one-year free-agent contract with the Ducks this past offseason.

The Trail, British Columbia, native has played in 994 career NHL games, with 186 goals and 320 assists.

Horcoff played at MSU from 1996-2000. He had 152 points in 155 career games with the Spartans. He was CCHA player of the year in 1999-2000 and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award after totaling 65 points in 42 games.