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May 23, 2024

Canadian Hockey Players Face Sexual Assault Charges Stemming from 2018 Incident

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Feb 1, 2024

Four Current and Former NHL Players Among Those Charged

Canadian law enforcement has filed sexual assault charges against five hockey players in connection with an alleged incident that occurred in 2018, according to multiple reports this week. The accused include four current National Hockey League (NHL) players and one former player.

The players charged are:

  • Carter Hart, goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers
  • Dillon Dube, forward for the Calgary Flames
  • Michael McLeod, forward for the New Jersey Devils
  • Cal Foote, defenseman for the New Jersey Devils
  • Alex Formenton, former junior and NHL player

All five were members of Canada’s 2018 World Junior team that won the gold medal. The alleged assault took place in June 2018 following a Hockey Canada Foundation event in London, Ontario.

Few official details have been released publicly about the actual allegations or investigation. The identities of the victim or victims have not been disclosed.

Accused Directed to Surrender to Police

On Monday, January 30th, lawyers for the five hockey players issued statements saying their clients had been directed to surrender themselves to the London Police Service. They did not confirm if the players had turned themselves in as of yet.

In his statement, Hart’s lawyer said: “We are in receipt of reports that Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers has received directions to surrender himself to the London Police Service to answer allegations relating to an incident that occurred in 2018…He maintains his innocence and will vigorously defend himself through the legal system.”

Similar statements professing innocence were released by lawyers representing Dube, McLeod, Foote, and Formenton as well.

Leave of Absence from Teams

Within hours of the charges being reported, the four active NHL players were granted indefinite leaves of absence from their teams.

The Flyers released the brief statement: “We were informed of the reports involving Carter Hart this morning. This morning, we decided to grant Carter a leave of absence as he deals with a personal matter.”

The Flames, Devils, and Lightning (Foote’s team), echoed similar messages in their statements on the players taking leaves.

This allows the players to focus on their legal situations while separating the teams from being directly involved as the cases unfold. The clubs have not indicated if the players will continue being paid salaries while on leave.

Potential Consequences Beyond Criminal Charges

In addition to the criminal case against them, the accused players could face further repercussions regarding their hockey careers if convicted.

The NHL does not have an official policy in place regarding discipline for players charged or convicted with crimes. Cases have traditionally been handled on an individual basis by the league and teams.

However, the NHL is under more scrutiny regarding off-ice player conduct in light of other recent controversies, including alleged sexual assaults. The league may be motivated to make an example of those found guilty in this Canadian junior team case that has shocked the hockey world.

At minimum, convicted players would likely be suspended, either by their individual clubs or the NHL itself. The potential even exists they could be released from their contracts completely if the convictions seem too damaging to their teams’ brands. Being unable to play could cost them millions in lost salaries.

Endorsement deals with equipment and apparel brands could also be jeopardized for those players that currently have such contracts. Brands seek to avoid association with anything that could tarnish their reputations with consumers.

Canada Grapples with Hockey Culture After Scandals

The junior team assault charges come amid Athletics Canada and Hockey Canada facing heavy criticism for past failures investigating sexual misconduct claims and protecting victims and whistleblowers.

Experts argue sweeping reforms are needed in Canadian amateur hockey to overhaul a culture that has too often silenced victims and prioritized reputation over accountability. There have been calls for increased female representation in hockey’s governance to help instill fundamental culture change.

While the full details of the London assault allegations remain undisclosed, they suggest that dangerous attitudes enabling abusive behavior against women sadly may run deeper than many wanted to believe. Some have drawn comparisons to other cases that exposed rot festering beneath the surface of beloved and venerated institutions like USA Gymnastics, the Chicago Blackhawks, and Penn State football.

How Hockey Canada chooses to respond to this crisis could determine if the junior team scandal represents a long-overdue reckoning versus yet another warning sign ignored. With their sterling reputations as hockey icons now in question, the five accused players who just over five years ago stood atop a junior championship podium may better understand more than ever that their sport faces a time for soul-searching and accountability on and off the ice.

Table: Key Details on Accused Players

Player Age Current Team Position NHL Experience
Carter Hart 25 Philadelphia Flyers Goaltender 5 seasons
Dillon Dube 25 Calgary Flames Forward 5 seasons
Michael McLeod 25 New Jersey Devils Forward 4 seasons
Cal Foote 24 New Jersey Devils Defense 2 seasons
Alex Formenton 24 Unsigned Forward 2 seasons
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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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