Mike Richards Formally Charged With Possession of a Controlled Substance

The Canadian Mounted Police in Manitoba have formally charged former Los Angeles Kings forward Mike Richards with attempting to enter the country while in possession of a controlled substance. He is due to appear in court on September 10.

TSN’s Rick Westhead reports that Richards was charged back on August 25 and that he has not yet entered a plea.

Richards was initially arrested on June 17 for reportedly being in possession of OxyContin while attempting to enter Canada. Some reports have the Kings not finding out about the situation until as late as June 26 during the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

As Richards would be a first time offender, he faces a possible maximum sentence of a $1,000 fine or six months in jail. Importantly, Westhead’s report cites that he’s being charged with having what “was clearly a small quantity intended for his personal use.”

Richards’ future in the NHL is complicated by these charges, certainly, but also by the Kings termination of his deal, which they claimed was a “material breach of the requirements” of his contract and grounds for termination.

That action resulted in the NHLPA filing a grievance against the Kings on behalf of Richards. The NHL and NHLPA have not yet set a hearing date for the grievance from the NHLPA.

Richards had five years left on a deal that paid him a $5.75 million AAV.

How the NHL handles the case could set a precedent for future uses of a material breach of contract for teams. It would allow teams to circumvent the cap, finding loopholes in contracts instead of being forced to buy players out.It may inspire teams to push and see how little a player has to do in order to be in breach of contract. The NHLPA hearing will be an interesting and important moment for the NHL and the NHLPA this season. The announcement by the RCMP today should not impact the NHLPA’s grievance.

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