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TSN’s Rick Westhead has reported that four players from the 2018 Team Canada World Junior Championship team have been directed to surrender to London, Ontario Police to face charges of sexual assault. One of the players directed to surrender was Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart.
Four NHLers – Carter Hart, Michael McLeod, Dillon Dube & Cal Foote – have been directed to surrender to London police to be charged with sexual assault in connection with an alleged incident that occurred during a 2018 Hockey Canada event.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 30, 2024
London Police have yet to publicly confirm the identities of the players.
Hart, Devils forward Michael McLeod, Devils defenseman Cal Foote, Flames forward Dillon Dubé, and HC Ambrì-Piotta forward Alex Formenton all took personal leaves from their respective pro teams. Formenton reportedly turned himself into London Police on Sunday to face charges.
The Globe and Mail reported on January 24th that five players were told to surrender to face charges of sexual assault. They also reported that the players had been given a set period of time to present themselves to London Police.
London Police are scheduled to hold a press conference on February 5th to share further details and publicly provide an update on their investigation.
“We understand that there is significant public interest in relation to a sexual assault investigation dating back to 2018,” London Police said in a statement. “We anticipate that the LPS will hold a press conference on Monday, February 5, 2024, to share further details.”
Hart, McLeod, Foote, Dubé, and Formenton have been accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a London, Ontario hotel on June 19, 2018, following a Hockey Canada-sanctioned event.
In April 2022, a woman, referred to in documents as E.M., filed a lawsuit against Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League, and eight unnamed players stating she was sexually assaulted following that event.
E.M. claimed that Hockey Canada knew about the allegations and did nothing about them. Hockey Canada said later in a statement that the organization claimed it reported the allegations to the police and also enlisted the help of a third-party firm to conduct an independent investigation.
London Police initially closed the case in 2019 without filing any charges, and Hockey Canada and E.M. were reported to have reached a settlement, but the investigation was reopened in July 2022 and according to court documents from December 2022, London Police believed they had sufficient evidence to charge five players from the 2018 Canadian World Juniors roster with sexual assault.
According to Westhead, Gary Ellis, the former head of Toronto Police Service’s sex crimes unit, told TSN in an interview that the players would be photographed, fingerprinted, and directed to sign an undertaking not to have contact with the alleged victim, either the first time they report to police or at a subsequent date. Westhead also said that he was told by lawyers who specialize in criminal sexual assault cases that a trial in this case is unlikely before 2026.
According to Westhead, the four players’ lawyers either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.