Born and raised in Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island. Richards has been friends with Vincent Lecavalier since the age of 14, when they met at Athol Murray College of Notre Dame, a boarding school with an excellent hockey program in Saskatchewan, Canada. They were roommates and soon became good friends as they were both the youngest players on their hockey team. Since then they have gone on to being teammates for the Rimouski Océanic and Tampa Bay Lightning. Lecavalier was also responsible for suggesting to the Lightning management after they had drafted him to draft Richards.
Richards was drafted in the 3rd round, 64th overall, by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, the same draft that produced future teammate and first overall pick, Vincent Lecavalier. He won the Conn Smythe and the Lady Byng Trophies in 2004. He also won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004. Later that same year, he won the World Cup of Hockey Championship playing on Team Canada. Richards holds the record for game winning goals in a single playoff season with 7 in 2004, overtaking Joe Sakic‘s and Joe Nieuwendyk‘s record of 6. Sakic was his favorite player growing up.
Richards played for Ak Bars Kazan in the Russian Super League during the 2004–05 NHL lockout on a team with fellow NHL’ers Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexei Kovalev, Vincent Lecavalier, Michael Nylander, Alexei Zhitnik, Dany Heatley, and Nikolai Khabibulin.
Richards played for Team Canada in the 2006 Olympics.
After the team was eliminated from the 2006 playoffs, Richards signed a 5-year contract with the Lightning worth $39 million (US).
On February 26, 2008, roughly 3 hours before the NHL trade deadline, Richards was traded to the Dallas Stars in a blockbuster deal along with goaltender Johan Holmqvist for goalie Mike Smith, centre Jeff Halpern, winger Jussi Jokinen and a 2009 4th round draft pick. Richards set a career high and made Stars franchise history by recording five assists in his first game as a Star. The Stars defeated the Blackhawks 7–4, and Richards was named the number one star of the game.
During the 2008–09 season, Richards tallied 16 goals and 48 points in 55 games before sustaining a broken right wrist following a check from Columbus Blue Jackets forward Jakub Voráček on February 16, 2009. Richards met with a specialist the following day and missed 15 games.
Richards returned to the Dallas Stars lineup March 21, 2009 after missing 15 games because of a broken right wrist, but the former playoff MVP then broke his other hand in the third period of Dallas’ loss to San Jose Sharks. He did not return for the rest of the 2008-09 season.
During the offseason, he goes back to Prince Edward Island, his childhood home. Richards has hosted the Brad Richards PEI Celebrity Golf Classic for the past six years. The event supports two charities: Children’s Wish Foundation, Prince Edward Island Chapter and Autism Society of Prince Edward Island.He is friends with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean, who spends a lot of time in PEI.
- 1999–00: CHL Player of the Year
- 1999–00: CHL Leading Scorer
- 1999–00: CHL Plus/Minus Award Winner
- 1999–00: CHL First All-Star Team
- 1999–00: QMJHL Michel Brière Memorial Trophy (Most Valuable Player)
- 1999–00: QMJHL Jean Béliveau Trophy (Leading scorer)
- 1999–00: QMJHL Plus/Minus Award Winner
- 1999–00: QMJHL Guy Lafleur Trophy (Playoff MVP)
- 1999–00: QMJHL First All-Star Team
- 1999–00: Memorial Cup Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy (MVP)
- 1999–00: Memorial Cup All-Star Team
- 2000–01: NHL All-Rookie Team
- 2001–02: NHL YoungStars Game participant
- 2003–04: NHL Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP)
- 2003–04: NHL Lady Byng Trophy (Sportsmanship)