Ex-Hockey Canada players granted trial for assault charges

ByKristen Shilton ESPN logo
Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The five former members of Hockey Canada's 2018 World Junior championship team facing charges for allegedly sexually assaulting and attacking a woman had their request granted Tuesday for a trial by jury.

Dillon Dube, Cal Foote, Alex Formenton, Carter Hart and Michael McLeod will be tried together, The Globe and Mail reported. No trial date has been set, and all five players -- who are all current or former NHL players -- have maintained their innocence.

The case will now move to superior court, rather than provincial court.

Last month, police in London, Ontario, officially charged the five men with sexual assault stemming from an incident that occurred in June 2018 following a Hockey Canada banquet. A woman alleges in court documents that she met several Hockey Canada players in downtown London after the gala honoring the gold medal victory by their 2018 World Junior team. She returned to one of the players' hotel rooms for a consensual sexual encounter. Several other players then allegedly entered the room without her knowledge and proceeded to assault her well into the early-morning hours.

A relative of the woman reported what happened to Hockey Canada the next day. An initial investigation by London police into the matter was closed in February 2019 without any charges.

It was later revealed that the woman had filed a $3.55 million lawsuit against eight players, the Canadian Hockey League and Hockey Canada that was settled by Hockey Canada in March 2022. The London police eventually reopened their investigation, culminating in the charges being brought in January.

At that point, the four players under NHL contract -- Dube (Flames), Hart (Flyers), and Foote and McLeod (Devils) -- were granted indefinite leaves of absence from their organizations. Formenton, who previously suited up for the Senators, was also given a leave of absence from his current team in Switzerland.

Via a joint statement released through their lawyers, the players said they are "confident that jurors drawn from the community will decide this case fairly and impartially after hearing all the evidence and testimony."

The case will be back in court on Tuesday.