London, Ontario – Six individuals, including four current NHL players and a former player, have been charged with sexual assault in connection with an alleged incident that occurred during the celebration of Canada’s victory at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.
London Police Chief Thai Truong announced the charges on Monday, stating that Michael McLeod, a forward for the New Jersey Devils, was charged with two counts of sexual assault, while Cal Foote, Dillon Dube, Carter Hart, and former NHL player, Alex Formenton, were each charged with one count of sexual assault.
The alleged incident took place on June 18, 2018, following a celebration event in London honoring the gold-medal winning World Junior team. According to Chief Truong, the accused and several teammates met the victim at a downtown bar before inviting her to a hotel room, where the alleged assault occurred.
The original investigation by London police concluded with insufficient grounds for charges. However, a second investigation that began in 2022 yielded new evidence and witness interviews, leading to the charges being laid.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman stated during a press conference at the NHL All-Star Weekend that he does not anticipate the four NHL players returning to their teams this season. He emphasized that the league first learned about the alleged incident in May 2022 and conducted its own 12-month investigation concurrently with the London Police Service.
Bettman refrained from commenting on whether the NHL’s investigation yielded any conclusions about the players’ involvement in the incident, citing the pending charges as a reason not to interfere with or influence the judicial proceedings. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly also indicated that the league will not release any information from its investigation while the charges are pending, respecting the unfolding judicial process.
The individuals charged will have to await the outcome of the legal proceedings to determine any future actions by the NHL. The severity and sensitivities of the charges highlight the importance of allowing the judicial process to unfold without external influence.