4 players from Hockey Canada case become UFAs

The four players remaining in the NHL, from the scandal that rocked Canadian hockey and led to multiple investigations of the nation’s gold medal-winning 2018 world junior team, were not offered contracts by their respective teams on Sunday, a major development in the story from a hockey perspective.

Charges were filed February in London, Ontario, against five players, all of whom took a leave of absence from their respective teams. On Sunday, the four still on NHL rosters — Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart, Michael McLeod and Cal Foote of the New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames forward Dillon Dube — were not tendered qualifying offers, making them free agents, available to sign with new clubs as of 12 p.m. ET on Monday.

The players are still awaiting trial, after a woman sued Hockey Canada in 2022, alleging she was sexually assaulted by eight members of Canada’s world junior team after a fundraising gala in London in 2018. Hockey Canada settled the lawsuit, and then an investigation revealed the organization had two secret funds to pay settlements on claims of sexual assault and abuse.

According to London Detective Sgt. Katherine Dann, the alleged incident happened in the early morning hours of June 19, 2018, after one of the accused met the victim at a bar and took her to Delta Hotel London Armouries.

According to court documents previously available, the woman, then 20, alleged that “John Doe #1” took her to a hotel room and invited seven other men into the room to perform undisclosed sexual acts, intimidating her and preventing her from leaving. The woman said in the lawsuit the men directed her to take a shower and asked her to say on video she was sober.

Dann said London Police received a call later on June 19, 2018, from a relative of the victim and launched an investigation. That was closed in 2019 with no charges.

The 2022 suit, which sought $3.55 million in damages and was dropped after reaching the settlement with Hockey Canada, led to police reopening the investigation and the charges against five members of that team. Asked about additional players, Dann said in February that charges have been laid “for all the charges we have reasonable grounds for.”

The NHL launched its own investigation in 2022. Officials pledged to release the findings, though Commissioner Gary Bettman said in February that would depend on what the league can say given legal proceedings.

Hart, McLeod, Foote, Dube and former NHL player Alex Formenton, now with the Swiss club HC Ambri-Piotta, have been charged with sexual assault. McLeod is facing an additional charge of being a party to the offense of sexual assault.

Attorneys for all five said the players are not guilty and will fight the allegations. The four NHL players were on paid leave from their teams until the end of this month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source link

Scroll to Top