Bettman wants Pound to defend steroid accusation

TORONTO -- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman wants Dick Pound to back up his claim that as many as one-third of hockey players use performance-enhancing drugs.

Pound, the Montreal lawyer who is chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, made the claim on Nov. 24 during an interview in London, Ontario.

"We've sent a letter to Mr. Pound demanding to know on what he based his inflammatory statements," Bettman told the Toronto Sun on Saturday. "Everything he says is anecdotal. We deserve specifics, not hearsay and innuendoes. Dick Pound insulted our players with his accusations.

"It wasn't fair, appropriate or right," he said.

Bettman thought Pound went too far with his comments and is waiting to hear back from him before taking further action.

Pound traveled to Sweden for an anti-doping conference on Saturday.

"This is classic," Pound said by phone. "The NHL refuses to allow its players to be tested, but I have conclusive information from club doctors, coaches, trainers and some players.

"I don't want to say more right now," he said.

The NHL introduced random tests for performance-enhancing drugs in its new collective bargaining agreement. Players are subject to a minimum of two tests a year without warning. A first-time offender gets a 20-game suspension, a second offense calls for a 60-game suspension and a third offense results in a lifetime ban.