Arizona Coyotes terminate Adam Ruzicka's contract after social media video surfaces

Updated Feb. 24, 2024 2:28 p.m. ET

Adam Ruzicka's contract is being terminated by the Arizona Coyotes after he cleared unconditional waivers on Saturday.

The Coyotes put him on waivers Friday after Ruzicka posted to social media a video showing him with a white powder appearing to be cocaine and a credit card on a counter. The team announced only that Ruzicka went on waivers for termination purposes and said it would have no further comment.

The NHL Players' Association has 60 days to file a grievance on Ruzicka's behalf.

Ruzicka was in the second season of a two-year contract worth $1.525 million. He had been with the Coyotes for only about a month since they claimed him off waivers from the Calgary Flames on Jan. 25.


The 24-year-old from Slovakia had no points in three games with Arizona after nine in 39 with Calgary. He has played in 117 NHL games since making his debut in April 2021.

Ruzicka is the second player in the league this season to have his contract terminated, following Corey Perry with Chicago Blackhawks after they said the veteran winger violated team workplace policy. The union asked for and was granted an extension of the window for Perry to file a grievance, and he's back playing with Edmonton.

There is precedent for the NHL to punish players for off-ice conduct such as Ruzicka's. Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov was suspended three games in 2019 for “inappropriate conduct,” less than a month after he was banned from playing for Russia for four years because of a positive test for cocaine.

Kuznetsov faced allegations of drug use at the world championships that year after a video posted on social media showed him near a table with lines of white powder and American dollar bills.

Earlier this month, Kuznetsov entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program, a joint venture of the league and union aimed at helping players with a variety of off-ice issues.