EDMONTON, AUG. 31 -- All-star goaltender Grant Fuhr of the Edmonton Oilers used cocaine for about seven years, according to the Edmonton Journal.

In a copyright story, the Journal said Fuhr, confronted several times by Oilers General Manager Glen Sather about possible substance use, had lied about his usage because "it's not something you tell your boss."

The newspaper said Sather confirmed Fuhr was treated for cocaine use at the Straight Center in St. Petersburg, Fla., last summer and that he tested positive in a private test.

In the interview, Fuhr declined to answer any questions about cocaine, but admitted he had used a "substance" from 1983 or '84 until last summer. Fuhr, 28, said he had used the substance once every three or four weeks, but has not touched it since he left the center.

"I was trying to get my life straightened around," he said. "I wasn't happy."

Sather said Fuhr had tested negative for cocaine three times in the last year. Fuhr said he expects to be suspended by the NHL and Sather said he had contacted NHL President John Ziegler.

Ziegler, in a statement, said the league has begun an investigation after receiving information indicating that Fuhr "had admitted using an illegal drug."

A hearing is set for Sept. 26 in Toronto.

Sather said Fuhr will not accompany the team Saturday when it leaves for an exhibition tour of West Germany and Austria, but will report to training camp Sept. 7.

Ziegler later said that pending the investigation and appeal Fuhr can play in preseason games but not regular season games.

Fuhr said he was introduced to the substance by friends and continued using it because "it was the in thing to do, part of being the crowd." He said the friends were not teammates.

Oilers forward Esa Tikkanen described seeing a drug dealer toss Fuhr a bag of cocaine in a bar last year, the newspaper said.

Corrine Fuhr told the Journal she watched her former husband snort cocaine in a city nightclub while they were dating. She said the evidence of his problem was unmistakable after their marriage in September 1983.

While Fuhr was leading the Oilers to their first Stanley Cup in the 1984 playoffs, drug dealers were calling his home, threatening him with physical violence if he didn't come up with cash, she said.

During the six years they were together, Corinne Fuhr said she had dealt with an endless stream of phone calls from drug dealers.

She said she agreed to go public with her concerns because nothing else she had tried had helped Fuhr stop using cocaine.

The couple separated in September 1989. Fuhr remarried last weekend but he and Corrine have shared custody of their two daughters.