Management, players have the marijuana talk
Recreational cannabis became legal everywhere in Canada on Wednesday but the major tenants of the Scotiabank Saddledome were not affected.
The Calgary Flames had an internal meeting with players earlier in the week to educate them regarding the laws and changes taking place as well as reinforce the team’s approach to substance use.
“Does it change anything? We look at it as you want to be topical and want to be current and make sure your players are topical and current,” said Flames GM Brad Treliving. “Outside of that, move on. In a lot of ways, it’s like alcohol. You have to be fit to work, there’s an expectation. Because something has been legalized, you’re not showing up at work differently than you normally would.
“How does it change? Not a whole bunch.”
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association has a joint drug-testing policy in place. Marijuana can be detected in a person’s system for more than 30 days from ingestion and is banned by the World AntiDoping Agency and on the NHL’s list of banned substances. But players are not punished or suspended for positive marijuana tests, although a significant amount found in testing would trigger a referral to the league’s behaviour health program.
The NHL has indicated their policies would not be changing.
“Business as usual,” said Flames head coach Bill Peters. “There are two countries that have it legalized now and we’re one of them.”
So no, uh, celebratory plans were in place?
“No,” said Flames captain Mark Giordano. “Just another normal day. Obviously, you follow some of the headlines but we’re not paying too much attention to it.”
There’s the medicinal, pain-relieving side of the drug, including a growing interest in the effects of cannabidiol — also known as CBD — which has been available in Canada but was previously illegal without a medical marijuana prescription. CBD oil is used to alleviate aches in joints or to help aid sleep.
But education is key, especially when it comes to cross-border travel and usage.
“We’re still learning. Our medical staff is on top of all of that stuff,” Treliving said.
Giordano added: “If there’s an alternative for guys taking pain meds, whatever it is you should look into it.”
Treliving said there is a commonsense approach to the subject.
“These are high performance athletes,” he said. “They ’re specific about what they put in their body and are tested regularly.”