NHL to wait for 2018 Canada world junior sexual assault case to finish before considering next moves

TORONTO — The NHL will wait for the judicial process to play out before making any decisions about players facing sexual assault charges in a 2018 case involving players from Canada’s world junior team that year, Commissioner Gary Bettman said Friday.

Bettman addressed the situation at All-Star Weekend days after four current NHL players were charged by police in London, Ontario, with sexual assault. He called the allegations “abhorrent, reprehensible, horrific and unacceptable.”

Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers, Michael McLeod and Cal Foote of the New Jersey Devils, and Dillon Dube of the Calgary Flames are all on indefinite leave from their teams. Bettman said the league does not consider it necessary to suspend the players without pay for the rest of the season.

“At this stage, the most responsible and prudent thing for us to do is await the conclusion of the judicial proceedings, at which point we will respond as appropriate at the time,” Bettman said.

Hart, McLeod, Foote and Dube are currently being paid. Bettman pointed out that all four do not have contracts beyond this season. Former NHL player Alex Formenton has also been charged.

Attorneys for all five players have said their clients are innocent. London Police have scheduled a Monday news conference to provide an update on the case.

The NHL launched its own investigation in 2022 and pledged to release the findings. Bettman said that investigation took roughly 12 months, finishing up last summer. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly added that nothing will be released while the case is ongoing.


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