(Toronto) The five members of the 2018 Canadian junior hockey team accused of sexual assault — Dillon Dubé, Cal Foote, Alex Formenton, Carter Hart and Michael McLeod — are scheduled to appear in court Monday morning for the first time.
According to court documents, McLeod is also charged with “participation in an offense.” »
All are scheduled to appear in court in London, Ontario.
The lawyers have already indicated that their clients plan to defend themselves against the accusations. Everyone is expected to plead not guilty.
None of the facts related to them have yet been proven in court.
London police are expected to provide an update on their investigation later today. She ended a first investigation in February 2019 without filing a complaint, but reopened the case in 2022.
Interest in this type of cause could help spark discussions on the concept of consent. Is it really well explained within the country’s various sports organizations? asks the director of the Center for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children at Western University, Katreena Scott.
“The discussions about how major sports organizations respond to sexual assault, how they respond to individual acts, how they hold individuals accountable have not gone far enough,” she said.
Mme Scott would also like to ask questions about how organizations are dealing with this problem preventatively.
Michael Kehler, a professor at the University of Calgary, recalls that this cause is only one element in the long history of the relationship between sports culture and masculinity. Traditionally, men and boys have had little accountability for their conduct in this environment, he recalls.
“It’s the context. What we are witnessing today is something that we have known about for some time,” he emphasizes.
Four of the five accused players have contracts with NHL organizations: Dubé with the Calgary Flames, McLeod and Foote with the New Jersey Devils, Carter Hart with the Philadelphia Flyers. The fifth, Alex Formenton, played in Switzerland. The five have all been granted indefinite leave of absence from their respective clubs.
The commissioner of the National Hockey League, Gary Bettman, refused Friday to talk about sanctions against them.
“At this time, the most responsible and prudent thing for us is to wait for the conclusion of the legal proceedings, after which we will react appropriately at that time,” he said.
In addition to the London police and the NHL, Hockey Canada also investigated this affair which cast a shadow over sport in Canada. The organization has not responded officially to the accusations.