Arizona Coyotes move to cut Adam Ruzicka after social media video appears to show him flashing cocaine

TEMPE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 14: Adam Ruzicka #83 of the Arizona Coyotes skates up ice against the Minnesota Wild at Mullett Arena on February 14, 2024 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Arizona Coyotes have placed forward Adam Ruzicka on unconditional waivers to terminate his contract after a questionable social media post.

Ruzicka posted a video on his Instagram story that showed his face before turning to a credit card and a white powder that appeared to be cocaine, the Associated Press reported Friday. While the post has been deleted, screen recordings of the video continue to circulate.

With Ruzicka under scrutiny, the Coyotes announced Friday that the 24-year-old is going on waivers for termination purposes. The team offered no further comment.

He’s in the last season of a two-year deal worth $1.525 million. He had only been in Arizona for about a month, arriving to the team on Jan. 25 after being claimed off waivers from the Calgary Flames.

Ruzicka, a center from Slovakia, hasn’t recorded any points in the three games he’s played as a Coyote. This comes after he notched nine points in 39 games for Calgary. Since debuting in the league in 2021, he has appeared in 117 career games.

His contract can be terminated once he clears waivers, but the NHL Players’ Association could file a grievance on his behalf. The organization has 60 days to do so.

That window could be extended, which is what happened in the case of Corey Perry after his contract was terminated by the Chicago Blackhawks this season. The veteran winger was accused of workplace misconduct from a Nov. 21 incident that occurred during a road trip to Columbus. On Feb. 2, the deadline to file a grievance for him was extended.

Perry’s deadline extension came after a grievance was “threatened,” likely giving the NHLPA more time to reach a settlement. It’s unclear if Ruzicka will take a similar route, but the fact that he recorded and posted footage of himself appearing to flash a prohibited substance might make things difficult.

The move to cut Ruzicka comes after the Coyotes terminated forward Alex Galchenyuk‘s contract in response to his arrest for a hit-and-run and disorderly conduct on July 9. Galchenyuk, who is now playing in Russia, was cut just 13 days after signing with the Coyotes. He later apologized to the police and entered the NHL/NHLPA assistance program.

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