Mike Ribeiro is 37 years old. He split time between the Nashville Predators (46 games) and the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL (28 games) this season, after being waived by the Predators at the beginning of February after what coach Peter Laviolette revealed was a trade request.
According to his agent, this is probably his last season in the National Hockey League, and potentially in North America.
Recall that Ribeiro went into the NHL/NHL Players’ Association substance abuse and behavioral health program at the end of the 2013-14 season with the Arizona Coyotes. His agent, Bob Perno, tells Richard Labbé of La Presse that Ribeiro relapsed into alcoholism “before the holidays” this season.
“Mike is currently in Nashville and he’s trying to get better. He’s at resting and he’s giving himself a few more months to come to a decision about his future in hockey,” said Perno to La Presse. “Mike had a relapse with regards to his issues with alcohol, and he has to get better/take care of himself. It’s the kind of thing that can jeopardize a career, especially at his age.”
Perno said that Ribeiro, who has three children, was jettisoned from the Predators after they heard about the relapse.
“Mike had a relapse before the holidays, and the management of the Predators heard about it. They decided it was better for him to leave. So Mike accepted the move to the farm team [in Milwaukee]. It has to be said, he didn’t give up. Many veterans would have chosen to give up if they had been in his shoes, but not him. He found the courage to keep going,” said Perno.
That Ribeiro is even employed is a point of contention. The beleaguered center settled a sexual assault case brought by his family’s former nanny, who was 18 at the time of the incident, in 2015
Ribeiro is an unrestricted free agent after this season, having made $7 million over the last two seasons after GM David Poile basically looked the other way on his civil suit and called Ribeiro “a family man.”
His agent told La Presse that Ribeiro’s NHL future is in doubt.
“If this is where it ends, I think he can be proud of the career he’s had. He might be able to go play in Europe, but when it comes to the NHL, we have to be realistic. It’s going to be difficult,” said Perno.
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