Gold Medal Shadowed: Canada’s 2018 Junior Hockey Heroes Face Police Surrender in Assault Case

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In 2018, Canada’s World Junior Hockey team showcased their prowess at the World Junior Championship in Buffalo, capturing their 17th gold medal. This team, brimming with future NHL superstars like Cale Makar, Carter Hart, Drake Batherson, and Jordan Kyrou, clinched victory in a thrilling gold medal game against Sweden, ending with a score of 3-1. Tyler Steenbergen’s decisive goal, scored with less than two minutes remaining, sealed the deal for Canada.

The Underlying Scandal

The glory of this triumph, however, has been deeply marred by a scandal that emerged soon after. Several members of the team were implicated in a grave incident involving allegations of sexual assault. This incident reportedly took place in June 2018 during a Hockey Canada charity golf event in London, Ontario. An investigation was initiated but was closed in February 2019 without any charges. The case, however, was reopened, casting a long shadow over the team’s accomplishment.

In a shocking development, reporter Rick Westhead revealed that five members of the team were directed to surrender to the London police, facing charges related to these allegations. This news came nearly six years after the incident and four years after the woman involved filed a statement against Hockey Canada.

The Response and Ongoing Investigations

Notably, some team members, including NHL stars like Cale Makar and Victor Mete, have denied involvement. Intriguingly, Dillon Dube and Carter Hart, both members of the 2018 team, recently took personal leaves of absence from their NHL clubs. While no names of the players facing charges have been publicly disclosed, they have been given a deadline to present themselves to the police.

The London Police initially investigated the allegations in 2019 but did not press charges. However, the case was reignited when the alleged victim pursued legal action, leading to a multimillion-dollar settlement by Hockey Canada. This settlement brought the incident into the public eye, prompting a complete overhaul of Hockey Canada’s Board of Directors and increased scrutiny from the government. The NHL is also conducting its investigation, and the NHL Players’ Association stated it would comment once official charges are laid.

A Cloud Over Former Team Members

The situation has become a topic of speculation, especially concerning players who recently took leaves from their NHL teams. While there is no official connection, the timing has raised questions. The New Jersey Devils also announced that forward Michael McLeod and defenseman Cal Foote, members of the 2018 team, were granted indefinite leaves of absence. Similarly, Alex Formenton, another team member, was granted leave by his team in Switzerland.

Flyers’ GM Daniel Briere commented on the situation, stating that the team would respond appropriately once the outcomes of the investigations are made public.

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