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Jere Karalahti Wants to Leave NHL

August 30, 2002

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HELSINKI, Finland (AP)_ Suspended Nashville Predators defenseman Jere Karalahti wants to quit the NHL and return to his native Finland.

Karalahti, 27, received a six-month suspension without pay two weeks ago for a third violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.

He isn’t sure whether he will be permitted to play even if he participates in a rehabilitation program.

``One option is to have the contract with Nashville terminated. Then I could play in the domestic league already this season,″ Karalahti said in an interview with Finland’s TV4.

Karalahti added that if he were to continue in the NHL ``I would have to be a teetotaler.″

``I don’t really believe I can do that, and I don’t even have the will to try″, Karalahti told the Ilta-Sanomat tabloid in an interview published Friday.

Karalahti, who wrestled with drug addiction before playing in the NHL, said his current problems concern only alcohol.

``If I know myself at all, I know that zero tolerance with alcohol won’t work,″ he said in the television interview.

``I’m not ready to go through the treatment program. There are other leagues in which to play in this world,″ Karalahti told the tabloid Iltalehti.

Karalahti joined the Los Angeles Kings in the 1999-2000 season, recording eight goals and 17 assists in 101 games. He joined Nashville last season and played 45 games for the Predators with two assists and 41 penalty minutes.

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