The nearly year-long saga of Mike Richards’ Canadian drug charges is finally over, as a judge issued a stay in a Manitoba court on Wednesday. It likely means there will be no more charges hanging over the head of the 31-year-old Washington Capitals center.
Stayed charges in Canada can be brought up again within a year, but per the CBC report, are a rarity.
Richards was stopped by Canadian border authorities in June of 2015 and found to have a controlled substance in his possession. It was later revealed that the controlled substance was oxycodone, and the resulting charges led to his contract with the Los Angeles Kings being terminated.
He had five years and $22 million remaining on the deal before the Kings let him go for “material breach of the requirements.” But his fight in the courtroom would only become half of Richards’ battle.
After being let go by the Kings, Richards had the NHLPA file a grievance over his termination and reached a settlement with the Kings. Details of the settlement have not been fully released as of yet.
It was just one step to getting back on the ice and in to the NHL though, and he was only cleared by the league to come back last month. He signed a pro-rated $1 million contract with the Capitals at that time.
Since his arrival in Washington D.C., Richards has played in 15 games and notched one goal with a +/- of -2 and four total penalty minutes to his name.
Prior to that, Richards was a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings (2012 and 2014) and won a gold medal as part of the 2010 Canadian Olympic hockey team.
With the charges no longer hanging over him, Richards could aid the Capitals throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Washington has a league-leading 92 points through 58 games, ten points clear of the Dallas Stars for the President’s Trophy and 18 points clear of the New York Rangers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference’s Metropolitan Division.