Five former Canadian junior hockey players now face sexual assault charges

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WARNING: This article contains graphic content and may affect those who have experienced sexual violence or know someone who has.

Four NHL players are facing sexual assault charges related to an alleged group incident in 2018 in London, Ont., while they were members of the Canadian junior hockey team.

Lawyers for Michael McLeod and Cal Foote of the New Jersey Devils, Dillon Dubé of the Calgary Flames and Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers confirmed the charges Tuesday. They arrive two days after a 24 year old Alex Formenton, another member of the 2018 junior team and former NHL player, showed up at London Police Service headquarters and was accused of sexual assault.

McLeod, Dubé, Foote and Hart, all 25 years old, are on leave from their NHL teams.

“Mr. McLeod denies any criminal wrongdoing,” David Humphrey and Seth Weinstein said in a statement to CBC News.

“He will plead not guilty and vigorously defend his case,” the statement said. “No evidence has been presented, let alone tested in court. We ask the public to respect the privacy of Mr. McLeod and his family. Since the matter is now before the court, we will not make any additional comments at this time.”

A man enters a police station
Formenton, a former NHL player and current professional hockey player, appears at London police headquarters on Sunday after turning himself in in the 2018 junior hockey scandal. (CBC)

Dubé’s lawyers, Louis Strezos and Kaleigh Davidson, said the Golden, B.C., native “will plead not guilty and maintain his innocence.” He will defend the allegations in court. We ask you to respect the privacy of Mr. Dubé and that of his family. There will be no further comments at this time.

Dubé’s team, the Calgary Flames, said in a statement that the organization “has now become aware of the accusation of sexual assault that has been made against Dillon Dubé. We take this matter very seriously. As the matter is now pending legal proceedings, we will have no further comment at this time.

“We had no knowledge of the pending charges at the time Dillon’s request for leave was granted.”

Hart’s lawyer, Megan Savard, confirmed the news regarding the 25-year-old goaltender from Sherwood Park, Alta., but did not provide a statement.

Foote’s lawyer, Julianna Greenspan, said in a statement to CBC News: “Cal is innocent of this charge and will defend himself against this allegation to clear his name.

“What is most crucial right now is the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial that everyone in Canada is entitled to,” Greenspan said. “As the matter is before the court, I ask that the privacy of Cal and his family be respected. There will be no further comment at this time.”

Foote was born in Colorado and is the son of Toronto-born former NHL player and current Vancouver Canucks assistant coach Adam Foote.

When contacted by CBC News, the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils referred all inquiries to the NHL.

Billed together or separately?

London criminal lawyer Nick Cake, who is not representing any of the players but has been following developments this week, said he would be watching to see what police say about the charges on Monday, when they are expected to disclose more details during a press conference. conference.

“What interests me is whether they will be jointly charged — in other words, whether they will be co-accused of the same alleged crime or whether they will all be charged individually,” he said. he told CBC News. “That’s the biggest question I have right now.

“It could result in five separate trials or a longer, slightly more complicated trial because you would have five people in the same courtroom being tried for the same offense,” he said.

This week, the five players now cut from the 2018 team requested and received time off from their NHL and European teams. London police have not named any of the accused or provided details of the charges.

WATCH | 5 Former world junior hockey players to face sexual assault charges, report says:

Five former world junior hockey players to face sexual assault charges, reports Globe and Mail

Five players from Canada’s 2018 World Junior Hockey team have been ordered to surrender to police in London, Ont., to face charges related to an alleged group sexual assault in a hotel room from London in 2018, the Globe and Mail reported.

The incident reportedly took place following a Hockey Canada gala in the southwestern Ontario city in June 2018, when players were honored for winning the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.

Court documents from 2022 revealed that London police believed they had reasonable grounds to charge five players with sexually assaulting a young woman in a hotel room.

Police closed the case in 2018, then reopened it in 2022 in response to public outrage following a trial.

The alleged victim, known only as EM in court documents, sued eight unnamed players, Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League for more than $3.5 million. Hockey Canada has settled this lawsuit.

For anyone who has been sexually assaulted, assistance is available through crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Canadian Association to End Violence Database. ​​If you are in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.

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