Over his 156 games in the NHL, the former Philadelphia Flyer earned his reputation as one of the league's premier fighters. Now Cote is focusing his energy on fighting to help fellow athletes get access to medical marijuana. While he's happy to see the legalization movement gaining momentum across America, he's frustrated that many pro hockey players are still being told that cannabis is bad for you.
"Most of these guys have been brainwashed into thinking cannabis is marijuana and marijuana is just smoking joints," Riley told a group of NHL alumni along with representatives of three cannabis companies in Toronto earlier this week. "I consume cannabis every day but in small amounts. I'm not smoking Cheech-and-Chong style all day."
That said, it should be noted that the NHL continues to have the most progressive cannabis regulations of any professional sports association, though the league doesn't plan to allow players to medicate with cannabis anytime soon.
But change could come from another sports association. Recently, the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) announced that they would begin to re-evaluate their cannabis regulations as the country prepares to repeal marijuana prohibition on October 17 of this year.
"There's a lot of things that are going to come at us in society with the legalization next month," David Branch, president of the CHL told The Globe and Mail. "We'll have to be in position to make informed decisions."
As research continues to prove that cannabis is much safer alternative to the barbiturates and opioids commonly prescribed for sports injuries, we hope more professional leagues listen to Cote's message.