Warning: The following article contains references to sexual assault
Four NHL players, Carter Hart, Michael McLeod, Dillon Dube, and Cal Foote, have been instructed to report to London, Ontario police to face sexual assault charges linked to an incident at a Hockey Canada event in June 2018 according to published media reports.
The players are set to surrender to authorities prior to a scheduled press briefing by the London Police Service on Monday, which will then update the public on the investigation and arrests in this case.
Representatives for the athletes have largely remained silent or unavailable for comment.
This case, initially reported by The Globe and Mail, involves five members of Canada’s 2018 World Junior team. Alex Formenton, a former Ottawa Senators player now playing in Switzerland, has already reported to the police and been charged.
The charges stem from an alleged sexual assault at a London hotel on June 19, 2018, after a Hockey Canada Foundation event. The complainant, identified as E.M. in legal documents, claims she met some players at a bar and later engaged in consensual sex with one, who then allegedly invited others to participate without her consent.
These allegations remain unproven in court. All the the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
David Humphrey and Seth Weinstein, representing McLeod, affirmed the charges against him, stating he denies any criminal behaviour and will plead not guilty.
Statements from counsel for Dube and Hart mirror these sentiments, emphasizing their clients’ intentions to plead not guilty, and maintain their innocence.
The London police initially closed the case in February 2019 due to insufficient evidence.
However, following a $3.55-million lawsuit settlement by Hockey Canada and extensive public scrutiny, including an investigation into Hockey Canada, at the House of Commons, the case was reopened in July 2022.
Documents filed in October 2022 by London police sought various court orders, indicating a belief in the players’ involvement in the alleged assault.
The four players, all 25 and on leave from their NHL teams, face critical career moments. Hart, a Philadelphia Flyers goalie, is in his final year of a lucrative contract. Dube, playing for the Calgary Flames, and McLeod, with the New Jersey Devils, are also in key contract years. Foote, son of former NHLer Adam Foote, has split his season between the NHL and AHL.