Five Hockey Players Charged With Sexual Assault
Five Hockey Players Charged With Sexual Assault (Credit: X Screenshot - TSN)

Carter HartMichael McLeodDillon DubeCal Foote, And Alex Formenton Directed To Surrender To Police

A potentially devastating scandal hit the NHL on Jan. 30, with the news that Toronto police have requested the surrender of four current players and one former player to face sexual assault charges stemming from an incident at a Hockey Canada event in 2018.

TSN’s Rick Westhead first broke the news yesterday:

Gary Ellis, the former head of Toronto Police Service’s sex crimes unit, told TSN in an interview that the players would be photographed, fingerprinted, and directed to sign an undertaking not to have contact with the alleged victim, either the first time they report to police or at a subsequent date.

The five players are accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a London hotel on June 19, 2018, following a Hockey Canada Foundation golf and gala event.

– TSN

The four NHL players implicated are Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart, New Jersey Devils center Michael McLeod, Calgary Flames right winger Dillon Dube, and New Jersey Devils defenseman Cal Foote. Alex Formenton is the fifth player, a former Ottawa Senators left winger who currently plays in Switzerland. TSN reported that he had already surrendered to police on Jan. 28.

Charges Include Allegations of ‘Gang Rape’ in Toronto Hotel

The complainant in the case, a woman whose identity is being withheld, alleged that — after the Hockey Canada gala — she met one man in a bar and returned with him to his hotel room, where they had consensual sex. Afterward, she claims that he invited other men into the room to have sex with her without her consent. The charges do not indicate if the first man is one of the five named defendants.

All five players, however, did attend the gala and all were members of the Canadian World Junior hockey team at the time.

Representatives for the five players stated that their clients are innocent and they will fight the charges in court. Interestingly, just prior to this news, on January 21, the Calgary Flames granted Dube an indefinite leave of absence for mental health reasons. Fans have criticized the Flames for the timing of their decision. However, The Flames organization maintains that it was unaware of these allegations or potential charges at the time they granted the leave of absence.

Toronto police had conducted an inquiry into the complainant’s allegations back in 2019 but dismissed the investigation with no charges. However, in 2022, the woman filed a $3.55 million civil suit against Hockey Canada where she alleged that as many as seven or eight men assaulted her. Toronto police did not comment on any additional charges that could come against more players or individuals.

A Potentially Huge Black Eye For The NHL

The NHL itself has not yet issued a statement regarding the charges. This is not the first black eye they have faced, even recently. In November 2023, Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic was arrested and charged with domestic abuse in connection with a late-night bar incident with his wife. The Bruins had placed Lucic on long-term injured reserve just before the incident. Lucic maintains his innocence and has a bench trial scheduled to begin on Feb. 16.

In 2021, Kyle Beach, a member of the Chicago Blackhawks traveling playoff team, won a settlement with the team after he credibly accused video coach Brad Aldrich of sexually assaulting him. After the settlement, other Blackhawks players on the traveling squad also came forward with sexual assault charges against Aldrich.

Perhaps one of the most infamous incidents in NHL history related to sexual assault happened in Washington, D.C., in 1990. Four Capitals players faced charges of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl outside a bar in Georgetown. That case fell apart in court but D.C. police maintained that they believed a criminal assault did occur that night.

Outside of sexual assault claims, the recent on-ice death of English hockey player Adam Johnson has also rocked the hockey world.

Of course, it is too early to reach any conclusions in the current case against Hart, McLeod, Dube, Foote, and Formenton. As always, it is essential to let the evidence come out and due process take place.

TSN reports that it is likely the trial in this case will not begin before 2026. We will be watching for any further developments.

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