Canada

NHL teams aren’t re-signing players accused of sexual assault during their Canadian world junior days

Warning: This story includes references to sexual assault.

Four NHL players charged with sexual assault in an incident stemming back to their days as Canadian world junior champions have not been re-signed to their respective teams. 

Dillon Dubé, formerly with the Calgary Flames, Michael McLeod and Cal Foote with the New Jersey Devils, and Carter Hart with the Philadelphia Flyers were all on leave with pay. They’ll now be free agents after the Sunday signing deadline passed.

Former Ottawa Senator Alex Formenton was also charged in the assault case involving a woman at a hotel following a world junior gala in London, Ont., in 2018. Formenton remained on leave from the Swiss club Ambri-Piotta as of Tuesday.  

All five players are pleading not guilty to charges laid in January and aren’t expected to be in court until early September, during pretrial motions, when lawyers will argue about what evidence should be presented when the case goes to trial before Ontario Superior Court Justice Bruce Thomas.

They’re all facing one charge of sexual assault. McLeod faces an additional charge of being party to an offence. 

A trial date has not been set. The players have all requested a jury trial. 

In February, London police Chief Thai Truong apologized to the alleged victim because it took six years to lay sexual assault charges against the five players.

The case first broke after TSN reported that a civil suit had been settled with the woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban.

Details from court documents later emerged that she had been drinking with players at Jack’s Bar in downtown London and then went back to the Delta hotel for consensual sex with one player. She said she was later sexually assaulted when multiple players came into the room.

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For anyone who has been sexually assaulted, there is support available through crisis lines and local support services via this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. ​​If you’re in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.

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