The hammer may be coming down on members of the 2018 Canadian World Junior team faster than we thought. Over the past couple of days, two players — Carter Hart of the Flyers and Dillon Dube of the Flames — had taken indefinite leaves of absence from their teams.
Today, Alex Formenton left his Swiss team to “return to Canada,” according to the team’s website. Michael McLeod and Cal Foote, who both played in New Jersey’s last game on Monday, missed practice this morning, and the Devils have released a statement that they are taking leaves of absence from the team as well. The team said it declined to comment any further at this time.
All of this was seemingly a prelude to the news this morning from the Globe and Mail that five players have been asked to surrender to London, Ontario police in connection with their investigation into the alleged incident in June 2018 and will be charged with sexual assault. The five players have been given a deadline to report to police, though when that it is has not been made public. Count it: Hart, Dube, Formenton, McLeod, Foote…that’s five.
The NHL has not yet released a statement on the charges or the players.
This has picked up steam after dragging on for a long time. It extends back to April 2022, when a woman filed a lawsuit against Hockey Canada claiming she had been assaulted after a Hockey Canada event in London in June of 2018. Hockey Canada settled the lawsuit, but it came to light that not only had Hockey Canada settled other lawsuits concerning sexual assault from players on their teams, but that they had used member fees to form a slush fund to settle claims of sexual assault in particular.
These events led to a complete overhaul of Hockey Canada’s leadership, as well as the formation of an independent investigation into what happened in June 2018 and the aftermath. The London police also reopened their investigation into it on the back of it, which is how we got where we are today.