Five members of Canada’s 2018 world junior hockey team have been told to surrender to London, Ont., police to face sexual assault charges, according to a report from The Globe and Mail.
The players have not yet been charged but have been given a period of time to turn themselves in to London police, per The Globe and Mail.
London police told The Athletic on Wednesday they were “unable to provide an update.”
“When there is further information to share regarding this investigation, we will be in contact with media outlets,” a spokesperson for the department said. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly also declined to comment.
The pending charges are related to an alleged sexual assault of a woman by several players in a London hotel room on June 19, 2018, following a Hockey Canada Foundation event.
The allegations were made public in a lawsuit filed by the woman against the governing body in April 2022. In the complaint, filed in Ontario Superior Court, the woman alleged she was assaulted by eight players in a hotel room after the foundation event. Members of Canada’s 2018 world junior team were among those accused of assault in the lawsuit.
Hockey Canada settled the suit in May 2022.
After the lawsuit was made public, London police and Hockey Canada reopened their investigations into the incident, and the NHL launched an investigation as well. The initial investigation by London police was closed in February 2019, without charges being filed.
In October 2022, London police investigators said in a filing to the Ontario Court of Justice that they had reasonable grounds to believe that five members of the 2018 world junior team sexually assaulted a woman in a hotel room. The evidence has not been tested in court.
One night in London: Allegations of sexual assault and a reckoning for Hockey Canada
Hockey Canada has been under intense scrutiny since the allegations were made public. CEO Scott Smith left the governing body and the entire board of directors stepped down in October 2022. Two months later, the federation elected a new board of directors to serve a special one-year term focused on “making the changes necessary to improve the governance at Hockey Canada,” the federation said at the time of the board’s election. Hockey Canada later hired Katherine Henderson as its president and CEO; Henderson spent seven years as CEO of Curling Canada.
Additionally, the governing body did not allow players from the 2018 world junior team to participate on Team Canada’s 2023 IIHF Canadian World Championship team in May.
Hockey Canada still has a long way to go to repair its relationships with provincial and regional governing bodies, which oversee minor hockey across the country. Several federations threatened to withhold player participant fees that are paid to Hockey Canada. In response, Hockey Canada did not collect any participant assessment fees for the 2022-23 season.
Several top sponsors have ended their partnership with the organization, including Nike. The sneaker brand, which had sponsored Hockey Canada since 1999, initially paused the relationship in 2022 before permanently ending it in July 2023.
Even with new CEO and president, skepticism remains toward Hockey Canada
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