In the National Hockey League, substance abuse has always been a taboo subject, despite players being known to occasionally dabble with the bottle. But as it is too often the case, for some, the occasional nature of the consumption becomes more frequent, and, with time, that same frequency becomes a daily occurrence. Soon enough, you're caught in a downward spiral within which the ways out are sparse. Unfortunately, while the NHL tries to hide these situations behind a veil of history and glory, the "victim" count has not been decreasing.
As many before him, and like many after him, Mike Ribeiro is amongst those players who, sometimes, would splurge in the excessiveness of life. Sadly, his reputation of being a "party-king" may have ruined what could have been an illustrious career.
Drafted in the second round by the Montreal Canadiens during the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Ribeiro played over 1000 games in the big league and amassed just shy of 800 points. Last season, he finished the year with the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL...
At 37 years of age, he might have finished the 2016-2017 with the Admirals, even if he had not been a substance abuser. The point of the matter is that, if it were not for his issue, he may very well have had a longer stint in the NHL or, at the very least, a more proficient career - even though his numbers are nothing to be shy about. Most importantly, the bottle not only hindered Ribeiro's performances but also the relationships around him, whether it be family, friends, etc.
In an article published by French-Canadian media "La Presse", it appears that Ribeiro has gone full-blown MIA. In other words, no one within his close circle has managed to get into contact with him. The problem, according to his agent Bob Perno, is that the former NHLer doesn't believe he actually has a problem when it comes to abusing substances. This is despite the fact that his problem has led to his separation with his wife and kids.
As per his agent, everyone has tried to help Ribeiro: his family, his entourage, the NHL, and the NHLPA; although he does participate in the readaptation opportunities that are offered to him, he does not follow them until completion. For example, in Nashville, he had agreed with medical staff to undergo a detox therapy, which seemed to be beneficial until the moment he decided to stop showing up to the appointments.
Like many before him, it seems that the substances may have had the better of Ribeiro, who, according to his agent, has not worn skates once since the end of last year's season, and has not spent additional time training or going on the ice. If we are to believe his agent, Ribeiro's next stop is most likely retirement.
Here's to what could have been: