London, Ontario police have charged five players from the 2018 Canadian World Junior hockey team with sexual assault after an investigation that was closed and later reopened. The incident occurred on June 18, 2018, in downtown London while the players were in town for a Hockey Canada event. The event was held to honor the under-20 team’s gold medal performance at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Among those charged are Carter Hart, a 25-year-old goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers, as well as Michael McLeod of the New Jersey Devils, Dillon Dube of the Calgary Flames, Cal Foote also of the Devils, and Alex Formenton, a former NHL player now competing in Switzerland.
The initial investigation by the London Police Service from June 2018 to February 2019 did not result in charges. However, the investigation was reopened on July 20, 2022, as more evidence was gathered. The police chief, Thai Truong, extended his “sincerest apology” to the woman who was allegedly assaulted.
A lawsuit was filed against Hockey Canada in April 2022, alleging that members of the 2018 world junior team sexually assaulted a young woman in June 2018. This lawsuit was settled between Hockey Canada and the woman, according to a report by Katie Strang of The Athletic.
Hockey Canada stated that it “has cooperated fully with the London Police Service throughout its investigation” and will continue to support the legal process. The NHL also opened its own investigation in May 2022, recognizing the seriousness of the situation and stating that it would endeavor to determine the underlying facts.
The legal representatives of the woman allegedly assaulted called for respect for her privacy and dignity as the matter proceeds through the court process. The alleged victim, identified as E.M., has shown courage and commitment to seeing the process through, they said.
Carter Hart and the other players have taken leaves of absence from their respective teams, and the NHL has made it clear that teams should refer all investigation-related questions to the league. The situation is ongoing, and the judicial process will unfold to determine the appropriate response. That said, the players remain innocent until proven guilty, and the legal proceedings are still ongoing.