NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is expected to address the media this afternoon as five current and former NHL players face charges of sexual assault in London, Ontario. prepare to appear in court on Monday.
New Jersey Devils player Michael McLeod faces two sexual assault charges. Police charged McLeod with committing and participating in the offense, according to court documents. His teammate, Cal Foote, was also accused of sexual assault.
The Devils re-signed McLeod and Foote last summer to one-year deals worth a combined $2.2 million.
Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers, Dillion Dubé of the Calgary Flames and former Ottawa senator Alex Formenton, who now plays in Switzerland, were also charged, according to court documents.
The players’ lawyers have denied any wrongdoing and will plead not guilty.
The charges relate to an alleged group sexual assault by players on Canada’s 2018 World Junior team. Police allege the incident occurred in a player’s hotel room following a Hockey Canada Foundation gala and golf event on June 19, 2018.
The woman at the center of the allegations, known only in court documents as “EM,” filed a $3.5 million lawsuit that Hockey Canada settled.
The settlement shook the sports world and parents were outraged to learn that their entry fees were being paid without their knowledge, along with other settlements over the years linked to sexual abuse allegations worth millions of dollars. dollars.
London police, Hockey Canada and the NHL have all launched separate investigations into the alleged 2018 sexual assault.
Bettman said more than a year ago that his league’s investigation was in its “home stretch” and was getting “very close to the end.” He also said it was “complicated” to gain access to those involved “in a timely manner” without subpoena power.
The NHL has not yet released the results of its investigation. The NHL did not respond last week to CBC News’ request for an update on the investigation.
The five players allegedly involved in the case requested and received time off from their NHL and European teams last month before turning themselves in to police.
London police are expected to hold a press conference on Monday into the investigation which they initially closed in 2019 without charges, only to reopen in 2022 following a public outcry.