In London, Ontario, police have officially announced charges against five players from Canada’s 2018 world junior hockey team for sexual assault. Among those charged are Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers, Michael McLeod and Cal Foote of the New Jersey Devils, Dillon Dube of the Calgary Flames, and former NHL player Alex Formenton.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred in 2018, and Detective Sgt. Katherine Dann stated that a reopened investigation in 2022 found sufficient grounds to proceed with charges. The accused could face jail time if convicted. McLeod also faces an additional charge for aiding someone else in the commission of the offense.
At a news conference, Chief Thai Truong issued an apology to the victim and her family for the delay in bringing the case forward, acknowledging that justice should not have taken so long. He emphasized the importance of timely resolution in such cases.
During a video hearing, attorneys for the accused players asserted their clients’ innocence and indicated their intention to vigorously defend against the charges. The next court hearing is scheduled for April 30, with the players surrendering to police in the meantime.
The case has cast a shadow over Canadian hockey, with allegations surfacing in 2022 when a woman sued Hockey Canada for an incident following a fundraising gala in June 2018. The organization settled the lawsuit, prompting further investigation into its handling of similar claims.
Both London police and the NHL launched investigations into the matter. Commissioner Gary Bettman stated that the league would await the conclusion of legal proceedings before taking any further action, with the players currently on indefinite leave from their teams. Bettman also noted that the NHL interviewed all players involved and respected the woman’s decision not to participate in the league’s investigation.