Shawn Horcoff (Harry How/Getty Images)
Shawn Horcoff blames no one but himself for the 20-game PED suspension that has kept him out of action since Jan. 26. Horcoff, 37, said it was a hard lesson for him, but he believes in the NHL’s banned substance policies.
Shawn Horcoff has missed the past 16 games due to a PED-related suspension, but as he readies himself to return to action and finally gets back into practice with his Anaheim Ducks teammates, the veteran winger isn’t blaming anyone but himself.
Horcoff, 37, was handed a 20-game suspension on Jan. 26 for using a banned substance to treat a hand injury he suffered in mid-November. At the time of the suspension, Horcoff released a statement taking ownership of his actions and apologized. Horcoff added that he didn’t know his treatment wasn’t permitted by the league, but added “that is no excuse whatsoever.” And even though he’s had to watch as the Ducks climb the standings without him, Horcoff hasn’t changed his tune.
“When I went out and got the treatment, I was unaware that what I was getting was not permitted by the league. That was the most frustrating thing,” Horcoff said. “That’s where I take full responsibility and full blame. I should have taken the time personally to really look into what was going on, not just rely on the word of someone else.”
Horcoff didn’t get into the specifics of his treatment, but said his hand injury had gotten worse, to the point it had become difficult to even grasp a stick. He and the Ducks training staff had looked at their options for treating the injury, but the injury continued to worsen, leading Horcoff to seek treatment away from the team.
Even following his suspension, though, Horcoff said he believes in the leagues policies and understands why he was suspended. He added the NHL puts the onus on the player to understand what they’re putting into their bodies, and he said that’s “a rule I believe in.” Still, the suspension stung.
“You never think as a player it’s going to happen to you until it does,” Horcoff said. “When you do, it’s obviously a hard lesson for me, but, like I said, I had to take full responsibility for it when it happened. It’s a frustrating thing when it happened, but I should have done my homework and really looked into it myself and known exactly what was going on.”
It was a costly lesson, too. Not only has Horcoff had to sit by while the team climbs the standings — something he said has actually made the suspension hurt a bit less — but the 20-game ban hit him right in his wallet. Horcoff has already forfeited nearly $300,000 in salary, and when his 20-game ban is over, he will have lost nearly $360,000.
Because of the suspension, Horcoff wasn’t allowed to practice around teammates, but he was able to use the facilities to train. Team staff wasn’t allowed to assist him in his training, however, which resulted in Horcoff finding a skating coach from the area to help him on ice. While it doesn’t sound ideal, Horcoff said it may actually help down the line because it’s allowed him to use the ban as a training camp of sorts.
Getting Horcoff back, though, only serves to make an already strong Ducks team deeper. In 45 games this season before his suspension, Horcoff had six goals and 10 points while playing fourth-line minutes. Add Horcoff to a roster that includes additions in Jamie McGinn and Brandon Pirri and Anaheim will have shored up their depth in time for a potentially deep post-season run. Horcoff will be eligible to return March 11 against the St. Louis Blues.
“I’m excited,” Horcoff said. “We’ve put ourselves in a good position to challenge for the division and really try to peak for mid-April.”