4 NHLers Charged With Sexual Assault

5 members of Canada's 2018 world junior team surrender to police in London, Ontario
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2024 6:01 AM CST
4 NHLers Charged With Sexual Assault
FCanada goalie Carter Hart (31) and Sweden goalie Filip Gustavsson (30) greet one another following the gold medal game of the world junior hockey championships, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, in Buffalo, NY. Canada won 3-1.   (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)

Five professional hockey players who were members of Canada's 2018 World Junior Championships team have been charged with sexual assault in London, Ontario. Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart, Calgary Flames forward Dillon Dube, New Jersey Devils center Michael McLeod, Devils defenseman Cal Foote, and former Ottawa Senators forward Alex Formenton, who now plays professionally in Switzerland, have turned themselves in to police after being granted leaves of absence from their teams. The Flames took heat for initially claiming Dube was attending "to his mental health," though ESPN reports some lawyers had directed players not to mention the charges to their teams. Lawyers for each of the players say they maintain their innocence.

In a lawsuit filed against Hockey Canada in April 2022, a woman identified as "EM" claimed she was sexually assaulted by eight men on June 19, 2018, following a Hockey Canada Foundation gala, per the AP and the Globe and Mail. The woman, then 20, said a man took her from a bar to the hotel room, where the pair had consensual sex, before inviting seven other men inside. The woman was allegedly prevented from leaving and forced to shower, perform sex acts, and claim on video that she was sober, the AP reports. London Police, which had closed its investigation into the alleged assault in February 2019 without filing charges, reexamined the case after Hockey Canada settled with the woman. Officers have promised to "provide all updates" at a Monday press conference, per the Athletic.

The NHL launched its own investigation in 2022 with Commissioner Gary Bettman vowing to release the findings once it was complete. The investigation wrapped up in June, but the findings have never been made public, per the AP. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, who's repeatedly deferred to the police investigation, said last week that the league would issue a statement when appropriate, a time expected to be after the coming All-Star Weekend in Toronto. The players' fates with their teams is unclear. The four NHLers are said to be on paid leave, per ESPN. With the filing of charges, however, "they could face suspension, by their teams or by the NHL, see their contracts terminated, or end up on a commissioner's exempt list," per the outlet. (More NHL stories.)

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