AN Edinburgh Capitals ice hockey player has been suspended after failing a drugs test.
Paul Zanette tested positive for amphetamine earlier this month after turning out for Italian club Asiago Hockey 1935, where he is currently on loan.
The Canadian has now been temporarily banned “as a precautionary measure” while an investigation is carried out.
Zanette – who was previously named the Atlantic Hockey Player of the Year – signed a two-year deal with Edinburgh Capitals last summer, and was due to return to the club in August as the new ice-hockey season gets under way.
It is understood he was also set to play a key role in recruiting new players for the team over the summer.
Capitals manager Scott Neil said the club would wait to see how the case progressed before making any decision about the player’s future.
He said: “We have just found out about it – he is playing in another country just now. I literally know nothing about the circumstances apart from I know he has taken advice and is going to appeal.
“We just have to sit back and wait until we find out what all the circumstances are, and – more importantly for us – what the decision is.
“We have just got to give him the opportunity to try to clear things up for himself. If it had happened in the UK I would probably have a bit more access to the protocol.
“It’s certainly a shock for probably everyone concerned, but hopefully for the player there’s a reasonably successful conclusion.”
Mr Neil confirmed that any decision to ban Zanette in Italy would also prevent him from playing in Scotland. The left-winger, who has turned out 35 times for the Capitals, left for Italy at the end of January to join top-flight team Asiago on loan until the end of the season.
The move was seen as beneficial to Zanette’s career, as he also plays for the Italian national team.
His failed drugs test was carried out at the end of an Italian championship match between HC Valpellice Bulldogs and Asiago on March 8.
Local media reports said the First Chamber of the National Anti-Doping Tribunal had upheld an application for suspension put forward by the doping prosecutor.
It is understood Zanette tested positive for amphetamine – a stimulant that can enhance athletic performance.
The news comes after Coventry Blaze player Kyle Bochek was suspended for 18 months in December 2014 after testing positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine.
Bochek, who played in the same British Elite Ice Hockey League as Zanette, admitted to the doping violation but said the banned substance came from a dietary supplement – providing evidence it was not intended to enhance his performance.
His ban was subsequently reduced from two years, and he is suspended until June 17.
The International Ice Hockey Federation did not respond to a request for comment on Zanette’s case.