London Ontario Police Chief Thai Truong In a press conference, updating the public on the Hockey Canada case (Carlos Osario/Reuters/Courtesy of The Guardian)

Hockey Canada Athletes Surrender in Sexual Assault Case

TRIGGER WARNING: This article will discuss matters pertaining to sexual assault.

Five professional hockey players have officially taken leaves of absence from their respective teams: New Jersey Devils’ Cal Foote (he/him) and Michael McLeod (he/him), Philadelphia Flyers’ Carter Hart (he/him), Calgary Flames’ Dillon Dube (he/him), and Swiss HC Ambri-Piotta’ and former Ottawa Senator Alex Formenton (he/him). All five were members of Hockey Canada’s 2018 World Junior team and were told to surrender to police on January 30th in light of new evidence in a sexual assault case pertaining to the team.

The investigation of this case began in April of 2022, wherein a complaint filed to the Ontario Superior Court alleged that the complainant, known only as “E.M.” (she/her) had been assaulted by members of the team in a hotel room following a gala. Following the initial news of the London Ontario Police Department investigation, the entire board of executives of HC stepped down in October 2022. While much of this investigation was conducted that year, the recent calls for the five players to surrender to police were instigated by the uncovering of a group chat between members of the team, which contained messages inviting various members of the team to engage. Though E.M.’s complaint was initially only looking for $3.55M in damages, and the details of the settlement she received remain unknown, the severity of the situation has the future of the defendants in question.

All five of the accused maintain their innocence in this case, for which they have all been formally charged at this moment. However, the Calgary Flames have come under fire for initially describing Dube’s leave on January 21st as one of mental health reasons. However, the Flames organization and PR would quickly reverse course on this, stating “We have now become aware of the charge of sexual assault that has been laid against Dillon Dube,” on January 30th. Both the Flyers and Devils refused to comment on their respective leaves, as did HC Ambri-Piotta.

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