Commissioner Bettman Responds
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has stated that the league will wait for the conclusion of the judicial proceedings before taking any action regarding the sexual assault charges against four current NHL players. He emphasized the importance of getting the facts right and responding appropriately.
Players on Indefinite Leave
Netminder Carter Hart, Calgary Flames forward Dillon Dube, and Michael McLeod and Cal Foote of the New Jersey Devils are the four NHL players facing charges of sexual assault. These charges stem from a complaint filed in 2022, in which an unidentified woman alleged that she was assaulted by eight members of the world junior gold-medal team after a gala event in 2018. Former NHL player Alex Formenton, currently playing for a Swiss club, is also facing charges. McLeod faces an additional charge of being a party to the offense of sexual assault.
The four NHL players have taken an indefinite leave of absence from their respective clubs since news of the charges emerged. Their lawyers have denied any wrongdoing on their behalf.
Bettman’s Response to Charges
Commissioner Bettman condemned the allegations, describing them as “abhorrent, reprehensible, horrific and unacceptable.” He highlighted that the players in question will not have NHL contracts beyond the current season, making the timing of the charges irrelevant in terms of contractual implications.
Bettman also explained that terminating a contract successfully requires the ability to prove certain elements, further underscoring the need to await the outcome of the judicial proceedings.
Previous Settlement and Subsequent Investigation
In 2022, a settlement was quietly reached, shedding light on the existence of two secret funds established by Hockey Canada to pay settlements on claims of sexual assault and abuse. The investigation by the parties who brought forth the charges against the five players had initially been dropped in 2019. However, an internal review conducted in July 2022 led to the recent filing of charges. The NHL has since launched its own investigation into the matter.
Legal Proceedings and Information Release
Law enforcement will hold a news conference to discuss the case on Monday. Lawyers representing the five players appeared virtually in a London, Ontario courtroom, waiving the reading of the charges. The next court appearance has been scheduled for April 30. The judge has also issued an order preventing the parties involved from publicly sharing identifiable information about the accuser or key witnesses.
Fox News’ Henry Naccari and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow Fox News Digital’s NHL section for updates and subscribe to their newsletter for more information.