MONTREAL (AP) -- Edmonton Oilers goaltender Grant Fuhr, suspended for one year by the National Hockey League last September for drug use, was reinstated yesterday by league president John Ziegler.
Fuhr is eligible to return to the Oilers on Feb. 18 after having served about five months of the suspension. For conditioning purposes, he will be allowed to join the Oilers' American Hockey League team in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Feb. 12.
Team spokesman Bill Tuele said from Boston, where the Oilers play tonight, that Fuhr would report to Cape Breton on Feb. 12 and would rejoin Edmonton Feb. 18, when the Oilers play in New Jersey.
Tuele said Fuhr had been practicing with the club, as allowed under the terms of the suspension, and "is in the best shape of his life. He's been working out with a personal conditioning coach, and he's done an exceptional job with his rehabilitation. He's done more than he was required to do. All he needs is some game action."
Fuhr admitted last summer to abusing "a substance" only after the Edmonton Journal confronted him with evidence about his ** cocaine use that had been confirmed by his ex-wife, Corrine, and other sources.
The order allowed the suspension to be commuted if the Oilers appealed before Feb. 1, 1991, and Fuhr demonstrated that he "did not conduct himself in a manner to have caused dishonor or prejudice to the league."
Fuhr, considered by many the best goaltender in the world in the mid- and late 1980s, led the Oilers to four Stanley Cups in five years. Fuhr is the fifth player disciplined for drug use or possession since Ziegler became president in 1976. The others -- Don Murdoch in 1978, Ric Nattress in 1983, Borje Salming in 1986 and Bob Probert in 1989 -- were reinstated before serving their full suspensions.