<
>

Mike Richards charged with possession of controlled substance

Former Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards has been charged by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with possession of a controlled substance after an incident at the Canada/U.S. border earlier this summer.

The RCMP confirmed the charges Thursday in a release. Although the RCMP did not identify the controlled substance, a source familiar with the investigation confirmed to ESPN.com that the substance was OxyContin.

The release said that at 2 p.m. on June 17 the RCMP were notified that a controlled substance had been intercepted at the Emerson port of entry by RCMP-Manitoba. Emerson is the border crossing point connecting Canada to the United States at Pembina, North Dakota.

The subsequent RCMP investigation led to the arrest and release of a 30-year-old man, the release said.

Richards, 30, was charged in relation to the incident on Tuesday and is scheduled to appear in Emerson Provincial Court on Sept. 10.

The Kings, Richards' team after being acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers in 2011, terminated his contract when they learned of his involvement in the RCMP investigation.

In terminating the contract, the Kings indicated Richards had committed "a material breach of the requirements of his Standard Player's Contract."

At the time, sources told ESPN.com the team was in negotiation with a number of teams to try and trade Richards leading into the NHL's annual draft held last June in Florida. All talks with other teams were halted when the Kings learned of the investigation.

The NHLPA had filed a grievance over the termination, but no date had been set for a hearing on the matter. The NHLPA declined to comment on the charges Thursday morning.

"We are aware of the legal situation relating to Mike Richards," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday. "We will have no comment on the matter unless or until the situation warrants."

Richards had five years remaining on a 12-year contract. He was part of two Stanley Cup-winning teams with Los Angeles in 2012 and 2014. But there were issues regarding his training regimen and conditioning, and he was demoted by the Kings last season to their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester.

Information from ESPN's Pierre LeBruin was used in this report.