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NHL Notebook: Five players ordered to surrender to police in 2018 World Junior investigation, according to report

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Photo credit:Hockey Canada
Zach Laing
5 months ago
Five members of the 2018 Canadian World Junior team have been ordered by police in London, Ontario to surrender to face charges of sexual assault, The Globe and Mail reported Wednesday.
While the players have both yet to be officially charged and haven’t been identified, the pending charges stem from an alleged group assault that happened in June 2018. The incident occurred following a Hockey Canada gala in London, where the team was celebrating a gold medal win from six months prior.
On Wednesday afternoon, London police issued a statement saying they were planning a press conference on Monday, February 5.
“We understand that there is significant public interest in relation to a sexual assault investigation dating back to 2018,” the LPS said in their statement. “While we are unable to provide an update at this time, we anticipate that the London Police will hold a press conference on Monday, February 5, 2024 to share further details.”
The same service investigated the alleged sexual assault in 2019, closing the case without charges being laid. Despite that, the alleged victim filed a civil suit in court, which was settled by Hockey Canada for $3.55-million quietly, TSN reported.
News of the looming charges comes after multiple members of the team have recently taken leaves of absence from respective clubs in North America and Europe.
On Sunday, Calgary Flames forward Dillon Dube, who captained that World Junior team, took a leave of absence, citing mental health reasons. On Tuesday, Philadelphia Flyers netminder Carter Hart took a leave of his own, citing personal reasons, and on Wednesday, New Jersey Devils forward Michael McLeod and defenceman Cal Foote both missed practice and were announced to be taking leaves of absences. That followed news of Alex Formenton, who has spent the last two seasons in Switzerland despite being on the reserve list of the Ottawa Senators, leaving his team overseas to return to Canada, his club HC Ambri-Piottla announced.
The leaves of absence, in at least some cases, may not be due to them being involved in the London Police investigation, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli said during Wednesday’s edition of Daily Faceoff Live.
“You can kind of start to connect the dots, but I think everyone should be real careful before they go forward linking every person that has taken some leave,” Seravalli said, “because I’m not entirely certain that every person who has taken a leave up to this point is going to be part of this process moving forward.
“Again, be careful drawing conclusions here, is all I can really say at this exact time.”
In a Wednesday article, Seravalli included details of the lawsuit that were brought forth surrounding what happened:
According to the lawsuit, the woman met the players in a bar after the Hockey Canada Foundation & Golf event on June 18, 2018. She arrived at the bar at approximately 11:00 p.m. and met one of the players, referred to as John Doe 1, who purchased her alcoholic beverages and introduced her to his teammates, who bought her shots and other alcoholic beverages. The woman, who, according to the claim, had slurred speech, glassy eyes and a loss of balance as a result of her intoxication, was eventually separated from her friends and went to the Delta Amouries Hotel with John Doe 1.
After the woman and John Doe 1 “engaged in sexual acts,” she alleges that he invited seven additional members of the team into the hotel room without her knowledge or consent. The claim states that, in the hours that followed, John Does 1-8 engaged in several sexual acts “which collectively constituted sexual abuse and assault of the plaintiff.” The claim stated the actions of John Does 1-8 “caused terror and fear” in the woman’s mind and that she did not give consent to any of the actions because she was so intoxicated.
The claim also states that the woman was “intimidated by the number of men and the fact they brought golf clubs to the room.”
In the months that followed TSN’s report of the settlement, the Canadian government froze Hockey Canada’s funding (not restoring it until April 2023); it was reported that Hockey Canada had earmarked a fund that used registration money to pay for, among other things, settlements related to accusations of sexual assault and other forms of abuse; and a slew of major sponsors withdrew their support for Hockey Canada, from Nike to Canadian Tire to Tim Hortons and countless others. The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage convened a series of parliamentary hearings demanding more information on how Hockey Canada handled claims of abuse. In the wake of the scandal, Hockey Canada CEO Scott Smith and the organization’s entire board of directors resigned in October 2022.
As a result of the reporting on the scandal, the London Police reopened their investigation in July 2022, leading to the pending charges for five players on Wednesday.

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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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