London, Ontario police confirm Hart one of five players charged with sexual assault

Carter Hart

At a press conference in London, Ontario on Monday, police chief Thai Truong confirmed Flyers goaltender Carter Hart is one of five players charged with sexual assault stemming from an incident in 2018.

      Truong said the five players – Hart, the New Jersey Devils’ Cal Foote and Michael McLeod, Calgary’s Dillon Dube and former NHL player Alex Formenton – apologized to the woman they assaulted shortly after the incident.

      London Detective Sgt. Katherine Dann of the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Section said the investigation reopened in 2022 found reasonable and probable grounds to bring the charges, which could bring jail time if there are convictions.

      Hart currently is on an indefinite leave of absence from the Flyers for personal reasons.

      Truong indicated he would like to get the current matter completed in a timely fashion.

      “I want to extend on behalf of the London Police service my sincerest apology to the victim, to her family for the amount of time that it has taken to reach this point,” Truong said at a news conference. “This should not take this long. It shouldn’t take years and years for us to arrive to the outcome of today.”

      Attorneys for all five players took part in a video hearing earlier Monday. No players were present at the court proceeding in London.

      During the brief hearing, prosecutors sought and obtained an order protecting the identity of the woman, which is standard in sexual assault cases, as well as that of two witnesses.

      Reports state prosecutor Heather Donkers also said defense attorneys would receive “substantial” evidence in the next few days.

      Attorneys for all five players have entered not guilty pleas.

      According to several media outlets, a woman sued Hockey Canada in 2022, alleging she was sexually assaulted in a hotel room by eight members of Canada’s world junior team after a fundraising gala in London in June 2018. Hockey Canada settled the lawsuit, and then an investigation revealed the organization had two secret slush funds to pay out settlements on claims of sexual assault and abuse.

      London police dropped their investigation in 2019 but began another internal investigation in July 2022.

      At about the same time, the NHL launched its own investigation, though the results of that likely will not be released until the legal case is resolved.

      “At this stage, the most responsible and prudent thing for us to do is await the conclusion of the judicial proceedings, at which point we will respond as appropriate at the time,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said during the  All-Star Game weekend in Toronto.

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Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.