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Second Latvian hockey player failed Sochi anti-doping test

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy

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The Latvian men's hockey team was the Cinderella of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, reaching the quarterfinals and putting a scare into Canada before falling 2-1 to the eventual gold medalists.

In the two months since their tournament ended, two separate positive doping tests has put a damper on the wonderful two weeks the Latvians provided the hockey world.

On Friday, the IOC announced that Ralfs Freibergs, a defenseman who played in five games, had his A and B samples test positive for an anabolic androgenic steroid. He was tested immediately following Latvia's elimination by Canada on Feb. 19, and after an April 4 hearing it was determined he should be punished.

According to the IOC ruling, Freibergs, who plays collegiately at Bowling Green, will have his eighth place diploma withdrawn and he is considered "excluded" from the Sochi Games. He could also face a two-year ban by the IIHF for first-time offenders.

Freibergs case was the eighth doping violation of the Sochi Games, a Winter Olympics record, surpassing the seven from Salt Lake in 2002.

Latvia now has had two players fail anti-doping tests since the Games. On Feb. 22, it was announced that Vitalijs Pavlovs had tested positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine, which he claimed was in food supplements recommended by the doctor of his KHL team, Dinamo Riga.

Because Latvia has had only two players fail anti-doping tests -- for now -- the team itself will not face any sanctions from the IIHF.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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