According to a TSN report, Flyers goaltender Carter Hart and three other NHL players were directed to surrender to London, Ontario, Canada police to be charged with sexual assault in connection with an alleged incident at a 2018 Hockey Canada event.
Hart requested and received an indefinite leave of absence for personal reasons and has not played since a Flyers-Colorado Avalanche game on Jan. 20.
The other players involved in the investigation reportedly are the New Jersey Devils’ Michael McLeod and Cal Foote along with the Calgary Flames’ Dillon Dube. All three players received leaves of absence from their respective teams.
A fifth player, identified by the Toronto Globe and Mail as Ottawa Senators forward Alex Formenton, has been playing in Switzerland. He also took a leave of absence from his team.
According to Hart’s lawyers (Savard Foy LLP), “We act for Carter Hart and confirm he has been charged with one count of sexual assault. He is innocent and will provide a full response to this false allegation in the proper forum, a court of law. Until then, we have no comment.”
The TSN report stated all four players are “expected to be photographed, fingerprinted and directed to sign an undertaking not to have contact with the alleged victim, either the first time they report to police or at a subsequent date.”
Media outlets have reported the original investigation was reopened in 2022. The Ontario Court of Justice posted a court filing where London police stated it had reasonable grounds to suggest the aforementioned players of Canada’s World Junior team had been guilty of criminal offenses.
A press conference has been scheduled for Monday, Feb. 5 by the London police to share further details of the investigation.
Flyers general manager Daniel Briere addressed the matter at the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees, N.J. on Jan. 24 and said the team the team would not comment directly on the situation until the investigation “was completed and the outcome made public.”
Hart, 25, was a second-round (48th overall) draft pick of the Flyers in 2016.
This season he is 12-9-3 with a 2.80 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.
For his career, Hart is 96-93-29 with a 2.94 GAA and a .906 SP.
He’s made one playoff appearance, 2019-20, in which he played in 14 games with a record of 9-5, a 2.33 GAA and .926 SP.
The NHL has completed its own investigation but has not made the results public. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league has been in contact with London polic but will not comment publicly until “when it is appropriate.”
Hart is in the final year of a three-year, $11.937-million contract. He can become a restricted free agent at the end of the current season.