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NHL Notebook: Five players charged with sexual assault in relation to 2018 Canadian World Junior scandal

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Zach Laing
1 month ago
Police in London, Ont., have laid charges of sexual assault against five members of the 2018 Canadian World Junior team.
It comes years after an alleged sexual assault of a woman following a June 2018 gala celebrating that team’s gold medal win from months prior.
Last week The Globe and Mail reported that London Police asked five players to turn themselves in. Tuesday saw TSN’s Rick Westhead name Calgary Flames forward Dillon Dube, Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart, as well as New Jersey Devils forward and defenceman Michael McLeod and Cal Foote as four of the players. The fifth, Alex Formenton, turned himself in to the police Sunday.
In a statement, Formenton’s legal team said he would “defend his innocence.”
“The London Police have charged several players,” Formenton’s legal team said in a statement. “Including Alex Formenton, in connection with an accusation made in 2018. Alex will vigorously defend his innocence and asks that people not rush to judgment without hearing all of the evidence.”
And as word broke of the news Tuesday, lawyers for the other four players released similar statements.
 
The five players all took recent leaves of absence from their respective teams. Formenton left Switzerland, where he’s spent the last two seasons playing after the Ottawa Senators didn’t re-sign him, while Dube was the first player to leave his respective NHL club.
That occurred on Jan. 21, with the Flames citing “mental health” as the reason for his leave. On Tuesday, the Flames said in a statement they had no prior knowledge of the fact Dube was facing pending charges at the time. ESPN’s Emily Kaplan reported she heard “some of the players were directed by their lawyers not to tell their teams any details about potential charges.”
Dube, now 25, was the captain of that team.
London Police had initially invested the allegations in 2019 without laying charges because the lead detective at the time “didn’t believe there was enough evidence,” Westhead reported.
But a civil lawsuit, filed by the complainant who was referred to as E.M. in proceedings, it was alleged that while she agreed to leave a bar with one man to have consensual sex, the man invited other players to the room, Westhead reported, without E.M.’s consent to have sex with her, the lawsuit alleged.
In May 2022, TSN reported that Hockey Canada quietly settled a $3.55-million lawsuit brought forth by E.M. against the organization, the Canadian Hockey League, and eight unnamed players in connection to the alleged assault, Westhead reported.
London Police are expected to hold a press conference on Monday.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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