On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Kings announced a fairly profound hire — ex-NHLer Brantt Myhres, who will be coming aboard as the club’s player assistance director.
“It just so happens Dean [Lombardi] was the first general manager to be proactive enough to approach me on it,” Myhers explained, per the L.A. Times. “This is an in-house program that we’ve structured. They’re going to have every resource available to them, whether it’s about drugs, alcohol or domestic violence or gambling.
“They’re going to have resources to be able to use at any point of their playing careers.”
More on the 41-year-old Myhres, per the Times:
Myhres, who played for six NHL teams and was suspended four times by the league for what he called “dirty” drug tests and then hit with a lifetime ban, arrived in Los Angeles over the weekend and will be on hand for the Kings’ training camp and available to players and coaches throughout the season.
Myhres said he has been clean and sober for more than seven years and long held a vision about assisting current players, circulating proposals to NHL teams and the NHL Players Assn. about creating a specific in-house program. He previously studied substance abuse behavioral heath at Mount Royal University in Calgary and said he also had talks with the NHLPA in July before deciding to join the Kings.
The move comes after three Kings were embroiled in legal issues this past season.
- Defenseman Slava Voynov pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges in July, and is now being held at an unspecified U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility.
- Mike Richards — who had his contract terminated by the Kings in late June due to “a material breach” — was charged with possession of a controlled substance in late August. Per the Manitoba RCMP, the charges came after Richards was involved in an incident at the U.S.-Canada border crossing in Emerson.
- Jarret Stoll had his felony cocaine charge — stemming from an April arrest in Las Vegas — reduced to a pair of misdemeanors and, shortly thereafter, signed with the New York Rangers.
In the wake of these incidents, Lombardi conceded that “clearly we could do more” when it came to educating players about the consequences of their actions. Kings executive Michael Futa echoed that sentiment.
“I think it’s just re-educating and reminding them how important it is that when you leave the rink that same professionalism you bring to the ice has to stay in tact, no matter what you make or who you are or some of the special treatments you might get,” Futa said. “It’s a privilege to be an NHL player, not a right.
“And you can’t abuse that privilege.”
Related: Under Pressure: Dean Lombardi