While growing up in Ottawa, Luke Richardson was as much a baseball player as he was a hockey player. By age 15, he was an all-star catcher when hard choices had to be made. Hockey won out, particularly the rearguard portion of the game. Since watching the sport on television, Richardson had already formed a strong point of mental reference to his idols, Larry Robinson and Denis Potvin.
Richardson played out his abbreviated junior career with the OHL's Peterborough Petes where he caught notice because of his exceptional mobility for a man of his size. The Maple Leafs made him their first-round choice in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. But in spite of concerns that he needed more seasoning, Richardson insisted that he would not return to play junior for his final year. Instead, he jumped straight onto the Leafs' roster with mixed reviews. He had his high spots, featuring his mobility and some solid open-ice hits. But he also committed the usual plethora of errors made by young defencemen learning the big-league ropes.
He plodded along for fours seasons in Blue and White until the Leafs sent him to Edmonton along with a troop of others, including Vincent Damphousse to acquire Glenn Anderson and Grant Fuhr. Richardson made himself at home on the Oilers' blueline for the six seasons that followed. Along the way, in 1994, he joined Team Canada in Italy for the World Championships where the club took their first gold medal since 1961 and returned in 1996 to capture a silver medal in Vienna, Austria.
In 1997, Richardson became an unrestricted free agent and received a lucrative offer to join the Philadelphia Flyers. Richardson went to play five seasons with the Flyers before signing as a free agent with the Columbus Blue Jackets in the summer of 2002. Upon his arrival in Columbus, Richardson continued to be rock steady on the blue line and in 2003-04 played his 1,200th NHL game.
Following a lock out year in 2004-05 and the Blue Jackets struggling in 2005-06, Richardson was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team that originally drafted him back in 1987 just prior to the NHL trading deadline.
Richardson's stint with the Leafs lasted only 21 games as the team failed to qualify for the NHL playoffs that season. The following summer, he would sign as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Lightning. As a member of the Lightning, Richardson spent most of his time as a healthy reserve, but managed to compete in 27 games with the club. The free agent veteran returned to his home in the summer of 2007, signing a contract with the Ottawa Senators.
On the international stage, Richardson represented his homeland at the 1987 World Junior Championships and the 1996 World Championships.