Hobey Baker goalkeeper Dryden McKay suspended


Minnesota state goalie Dryden McKay has been banned for six months for testing positive for a banned substance.

Minnesota state goalie Dryden McKay has been banned for six months for testing positive for a banned substance.
picture: Getty Images

In the age of NIL and PEDs, collegiate athletes need to be wary when every ingredient in a protein shake or supplement is ruthless.

The case of Minnesota State goalie Dryden McKay, who earlier this month won the winner of the Hobey Baker Award, the Division I men’s ice hockey equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, is grim. A microscopic amount of the muscle growth enhancer Ostarine was found in a urine sample in January, leading to a six-month ban on competition for an anti-doping rule violation, according to the US Anti-Doping Agency.

How small are we talking? Several trillionths of a gram. There are 4.8 grams in a teaspoon. Now multiply each of these grains of salt by 0.0000000000001. That’s about the amount of ostarine in McKay’s system, which he believes came from a supplement he was taking, the anti-inflammatory quercetin, which USADA said didn’t list the improvement on the Supplement Facts label. Ostarine is a banned substance by several national sports organizations, including the International Ice Hockey Federation. Quercetin has been used by some to help them recover from a coronavirus diagnosis. McKay’s positive test came amid the upswing of the Omicron variant.

McKay, who is named after former Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup winner Ken Dryden, began his suspension on April 14, the same day he accepteded the penalty and less than two weeks after winning the Hobey Baker. The 25-year-old previously stated his intention to turn pro after the Minnesota state season ended. McKay played his last collegiate game five days before the ban was imposed, a 5-1 loss in the national championship game to Denver. The 5-foot-11 goaltender was not selected in the NHL draft and is a free agent. McKay would next be eligible to play in a game in mid-October.

“During USADA’s investigation into the circumstances of the case, USADA received results from a (World Anti-Doping Agency) accredited laboratory that a supplement product McKay had used prior to sample collection did not list Ostarine on the Supplement Facts label contaminated with that substance in an amount appropriate to the circumstances of ingestion and his positive test,” USADA said in its decision.

McKay, who proved the source of the contamination, allowed an umpire to overturn his original suspension in February after three days until USADA completed its investigation. He went on to set NCAA records for most wins in a season for a goaltender (37) and most shutouts in a season (34). McKay told ESPN he doesn’t believe Ostarine confers any performance benefits. McKay was a substitute for the US men’s hockey team that competed in the Beijing Olympics and never played for his country. McKay doesn’t have to give up the Hobey Baker due to the ban.

The investigation, which was conveniently completed just days after his college career ended, reveals a few things. His exclusion from competitions, of which there are not many, suggests that McKay’s use of the illegal substance was an accident. It’s essentially a slap on the wrist to hold McKay accountable and everyone moves on. Because of McKay’s size, his chances of an extended NHL career are slim, with or without this suspension.

McKay accepts responsibility in good faith and gives him the opportunity to continue his hockey career beyond the state of Minnesota. Fighting the prosecution would have been his legacy, more so than being named the NCAA’s top hockey player that year.

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