Mike Richards was born February 11, 1985 in Kenora, Ontario. The first round, 24th overall selection of the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Richards is a graduate of the OHL's Kitchener Rangers.
A solid two-way player, Richards went on to play four seasons in the OHL with Kitchener registering 292 points (115-177-292) and leading the club to the 2003 OHL and Memorial Cup titles.
Following a successful junior career, Richards joined the Flyers AHL affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms for the post season and was a key contributor in helping the club capture the 2005 Calder Cup title. Richards would make his NHL debut with the Flyers during the 2005-06 season. After a stellar rookie year in the NHL in which Richards finished with 34 points in 79 games, the former Kitchener Ranger fought threw a pair of injuries throughout the 2006-07 season and managed to produce 32 points in 59 games on a struggling Flyer team.
A rebuilt Flyers squad returned to action in 2007-08 and Richards was identified as one of the cornerstones of the franchise. He was handsomely awarded for his dedication to the team with a 12-year $69 million dollar contract in mid-December, 2007. Richards went on to set new career highs in goals, assists and points that year as the Flyers went on an unexpected run to the Eastern Conference Final.
Just prior to the start of the 2008-09 season, Richards was named the 17th captain of the Philadelphia Flyers, succeeding Jason Smith who signed in the off-season with the Ottawa Senators.
On the international stage, Richards captained team Canada to the 2005 World Junior Championship gold medal, suited for Canada at the 2006 World Championships in Riga, Latvia and was part of the Canadian team that captured gold on home soil at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
Having signed a long-term contract with the Flyers back in 2007 and serving as the club's captain since 2008, it was assumed by many that Mike Richards would spend his entire career in the orange and white. That notion was quickly put to rest on June 23, 2011 when Richards was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn.
In his first season in Los Angeles, Richards was a key part of the Kings club that stormed through the Western Conference playoffs and defeated the New Jersey Devils to capture the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Along the way Richards chipped in with strong two-way, physical play and 15 points in 20 playoff games.
Two seasons later, Richards and the Kings found themselves in a position to win the Stanley Cup once again. This time, they beat the New York Rangers in five games to win their second Stanley Cup in three years.
Following the 2014-15 season, Richards was arrested at the US-Canadian border due to being in possession of a perscription drug. The legal problems caused the Los Angeles Kings to terminate the remainder of his contract, making him an unrestricted free agent.
After battles in the court room, rather than the hockey rink, Richards and the Los Angeles Kings settled their dispute, allowing the Washington Capitals to sign him to a one year contract on January 6, 2016.