March 13, 2013

Ratcliff Fails Doping Test; NLL Status Unchanged

Banned from Canadian Lacrosse Association national or international teams for two years

by Neil Stevens | LaxMagazine.com

Lewis Ratcliff tested positive for multiple banned substances while playing with the Langley Thunder in last summer's Mann Cup and is banned from Canadian national competition or internernationl teams for two years.

Lewis Ratcliff's failed doping test in Canada won't keep the star forward out of National Lacrosse League games with the Washington Stealth.

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport announced on Wednesday that the 31-year-old Canadian has received a two-year sanction for an anti-doping rule violation that resulted from analysis of a urine sample taken last September, but the NLL has no affiliation with the CCES.

Ratcliff was playing for the Langley Thunder in his native British Columbia last summer and the team travelled to Peterborough, Ontario, to represent the Western Lacrosse Association in the Mann Cup senior amateur championship of Canada.

''The athlete's urine sample collected during in-competition doping control on Sept. 12, 2012, revealed the presence of oxandrolone and clenbuterol, two prohibited anabolic agents, as well as oxycodone, a prohibited narcotic,'' the CCES explained in a news release.

The Canadian Lacrosse Association, which has jurisdiction over the Mann Cup, is a signatory to the anti-doping program of which the CCES is the custodian and abides by any and all sanctions handed out by the CCES. So, Ratcliff is suspended from participating nationally or internationally on teams under the CLA umbrella through Nov. 9, 2014.

Ratcliff, who resides in Redmond, Wash., waived his right to a hearing, acknowledged the violation and accepted the two-year sanction, the CCES added in its announcement.

The NLL reacted later Wednesday by issuing a brief statement: ''The NLL's policy on performance enhancing drug use is governed by the collective bargaining agreement with the Professional Lacrosse Players Association. Any testing conducted by any other entity is outside the scope of the CBA and is not an NLL matter.''

The policy includes a clause that states every player will be subject to no more than one random test for the presence of performance enhancing drugs per season.

Oxandrolone, also known as oxandrin, is a synthetic anabolic steroid that promotes muscle regrowth. Clenbuterol increases aerobic capacity and was present in samples that led to suspensions of numerous athletes in various sports over the last 10 years. Oxycodone is usually used as a pain reliever.

Ratcliff scored four goals last Saturday to help the Stealth to a 16-10 win in Philadelphia. That upped his career total to 401. He's only the seventh player in indoor pro history to reach the 400-goal milestone. He was the championship game MVP in 2010 when Washington defeated Toronto. He also played for the Calgary Roughnecks in 2004 when they won the NLL title.

His next appearance with the Stealth will be in St. Paul, Minn., this Saturday night.


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