Peters admits using andro two years ago

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sabres enforcer Andrew Peters briefly and legally used the steroid-like supplement androstenedione two years ago to help him make the team.

Peters did not break any laws or NHL rules at the time and has stopped using the performance enhancer since the Food and Drug Administration banned its sale in April 2004, his agent, Steve Bartlett, said Thursday.

"It's obviously something that, looking back on it, he wishes in some ways he hadn't [done]," Bartlett told The Associated Press. "And he's been very clear that knowing what he knows today, he wouldn't use it again."

Androstenedione, known as andro, was once used by slugger Mark McGwire and banned by baseball last year.

Peters, believed to be the first NHL player to admit using a performance-enhancing supplement, said he used andro from May to August 2003, The Buffalo News reported Thursday.

"No one said you can't, so why not?" Peters told the newspaper. "We didn't do anything illegal. It was a supplement. We weren't hiding anything. I had nothing to hide. My girlfriend at the time knew. My parents knew."

Peters was traveling to a hockey tournament in Ottawa and not available for comment. Bartlett confirmed his client's statements.

The NHL Players' Association opposes performance-enhancing substances, union spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon said. He noted that no NHL player tested positive during the last two Olympics and in numerous international competitions.

The NHL has introduced random tests for performance-enhancing drugs in its new collective bargaining agreement. Players will be subject to a minimum of two drug tests a year without warning. A first-time offender would receive a 20-game suspension. A 60-game suspension would be given to a repeat offender, with a permanent ban for a third offense.

"We are confident the education and testing policy under our new joint program, in addition to severe punishment for positive test results, will deter NHL players from using performance-enhancing substances," NHL spokesman Frank Brown said in response to Peters' admission.

Bartlett noted Peters passed all drug tests before he was allowed to play for Bodens IK, a second-tier Swedish team, last season.

Peters told The News he and brother Geoff Peters, a career minor-leaguer, bought andro over the counter at a nutritional supplement store in Rochester.

Peters said he used andro to prepare for training camp and help overcome shoulder and ankle injuries that forced him to miss 23 games the previous season with the Sabres' minor-league affiliate in the AHL.

Peters went from 224 pounds to 247. He made the team and appeared in 42 games as a rookie in the 2003-04 season. The left winger finished with two goals, no assists and a team-leading 151 penalty minutes.

"At the time, I thought it was totally harmless, so I would've recommended it to anybody," said Peters, a second-round Sabres draft pick in 1998. "Now I wouldn't recommend it. For two summers now, I haven't taken it."