As Hockey Canada re-opens alleged sex assault probe, here’s what 2018 players say so far

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As Hockey Canada remains under intense scrutiny over its handling of a lawsuit alleging a sexual assault involving players from the 2018 national junior team, the organization is reopening its investigation and some of the players have been speaking out.

Facing a flight of sponsorship dollars over recent weeks, the organization announced in an open letter to Canadians on Thursday morning that it is reopening the investigation into the alleged sexual assault and it will be mandatory for all players on that team to participate.

Senior leaders told the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage last month that players were “encouraged” but not required to cooperate with the initial probe into the matter.

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“We know we have not done enough to address the actions of some members of the 2018 national junior team or to end the culture of toxic behaviour within our game,” Hockey Canada wrote in its letter Thursday. “For that we unreservedly apologize.

“We know we need to do more to address the behaviours, on and off the ice, that conflict with what Canadians want hockey to be, and which undermine the many good things that the game brings to our country.”

Hockey Canada officials have said neither the original and later abandoned probe, nor inquiries by police in London, Ont., were able to identify the alleged perpetrators. Robert Talach, lawyer for the complainant, told Global News on Thursday his client is participating in the reopened probe.

One player from the 2018 World Juniors team, Victor Mete, recently took to Twitter to call the allegations “appalling,” adding he was not involved. Since the eight alleged perpetrators haven’t been identified, he wrote, “the incident has left an unfortunate cloud over every player who was on the Canadian team.”

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The allegations in the lawsuit have not been tested in court. Neither have criminal charges been laid.

Hockey Canada officials said in committee testimony on June 20 that police in London, Ont., were notified the day after Hockey Canada learned of the allegation in June 2018 but that the investigators did not determine the identities of the accused.

The London police investigation was separate from the external probe conducted for Hockey Canada by Henein Hutchison. Neither of those efforts determined the identities of the alleged perpetrators. When contacted by Global News on Thursday, London police said they could not comment.

“The London Police Service is unable to comment on any alleged criminal investigation,” a spokesperson for the force said.

“The London Police Service is committed to thoroughly investigating all complaints of sexual assault. Along with our community partners, we will fully support those who come forward and we encourage anyone who has experienced sexual violence to report the incident to police so that the matter can be investigated.”

Hockey Canada’s Scott Smith said in June that the organization settled the lawsuit “on behalf of all the defendants.” He also said that after learning of the statement of claim, Hockey Canada “communicated with the players’ representatives.”

“You communicated directly with the counsel or representative of the eight different players,” one Liberal MP asked for clarification during the committee meeting.

“It was with their representative,” Smith said.

Hockey Canada’s Tom Renney later added: “We had no idea of knowing where to focus our energy at all, and it would have been wrong nonetheless, so we contacted every player and all the teams.”

TSN first reported on the allegations in May, citing a lawsuit filed by the woman who made the allegation earlier this year. In it, she alleged eight players from the Canadian Hockey League and the World Junior championship team bought her alcoholic beverages and that she went back to a nearby hotel with one of the players.

TSN reported that after allegedly engaging in sexual acts with the woman, a player cited only as John Doe 1  “invited the remainder of the John Doe defendants into the room without the knowledge or consent of the Plaintiff,” where they allegedly repeatedly sexually assaulted her.

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Members of Parliament raised serious concerns about the allegations during that committee, citing their multimillion-dollar contracts with National Hockey League teams, and the chance they could coach young Canadians one day.

“It’s not unreasonable now to imagine that many of the eight players subject to these gang rape allegations enjoy lucrative professional careers,” said Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge to the committee.

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh posed a question to the Hockey Canada officials: “Does it concern any of you in front of me today that these alleged so-called rapists have ongoing careers in amateur and professional hockey today, and some day could be coaching?”

Hockey Canada’s roster for the 2018 World Junior championship included 20 players and two goaltenders. Smith told the committee he believed 19 of those were at the Hockey Canada event preceding the alleged sexual assault.

Global News reached out to the agents for all players on the 2018 Hockey Canada roster asking whether each player had participated in the Henein Hutchison probe, and whether they were involved in the alleged sexual assault.

Regarding questions about six players on the 2018 roster put to sports agency Wasserman Hockey, Global News received a statement from Scott Fenton, a criminal defence lawyer based in Toronto.

“We act for one of the players referenced in your email inquiry and have consulted with counsel for the other players you reference. All of Global News’ questions will be asked and answered during the pending NHL investigation. That said, none of the players you reference engaged in any wrongdoing, all of the players cooperated fully with the independent London Police Service investigation in 2018, and all players were then cleared of any wrongdoing,” Fenton wrote.

“Naming any of these players now, or attempting to associate any of them in any way with alleged criminal wrongdoing, or alleging that they were not cooperative with the London Police or willing to cooperate with Hockey Canada, will constitute materially false statements constituting defamation causing serious financial and reputational harm.”

Below are the players on the roster, which is publicly available. For players whose agents did not respond, Global News also attempted to get answers from their teams and also reached out to the NHL Players’ Association for comment.

Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Batherson lists New Minas, N.S., as his hometown on the Hockey Canada roster.

He played forward for Team Canada at the 2018 World Junior championship.

Batherson plays right wing and was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in 2017 in the fourth round.

He is 24-years-old.

In September 2021, Sportsnet reported Batherson re-signed a contract with the Ottawa Senators for the next six years, worth $29.85 million.

Global News contacted Quartexx Management multiple times but has not yet received a response. Global News also reached out to the Ottawa Senators but has not yet received a response, along with the NHL Players’ Association, but did not receive a response.

Bean was born in Calgary, Alta., and played defence for Team Canada in the 2018 World Junior championship, according to the Hockey Canada 2018 roster.

He is 24-years-old.

He was drafted in 2016 by the Carolina Hurricanes and in 2021, signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

That three-year contract is worth $7-million, according to the NHL website.

Bean is represented by Wasserman Hockey. Regarding questions to three agents about six players at Wasserman Hockey, Global News was contacted by Fenton.

His statement on behalf of the six players denying any of the players were involved in the alleged sexual assault is above.

Clague was born in Regina, Sask., but lists Lloydminster, Alta., as his hometown on the Hockey Canada roster. He played defence for Team Canada during the 2018 World Juniors championship.

In 2016, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round. Clague then went to the Montreal Canadiens in December 2021, and signed a one-year deal with the Buffalo Sabres this week.

He is 24.

Clague is represented by Wasserman Hockey. Regarding questions to three agents about six players at Wasserman Hockey, Global News was contacted by Fenton.

His statement on behalf of the six players denying any of the players were involved in the alleged sexual assault is above.

Clague issued an additional statement on Twitter on July 20, after this article was published.

“As a member of the 2018 Canadian World Junior hockey team, I feel it is important to state I was not in attendance at the Hockey Canada Gala, nor was I in London, Ontario on the day that the incident is alleged to have occurred,” he wrote.

“Should my help be requested by those investigating this matter, I am fully prepared to cooperate in any way I can. Given the ongoing investigation I will not be providing any further comments at this time.”

Born and raised in Longueuil, Que., Comtois played forward in the 2018 World Juniors, according to the team roster.

He was drafted in 2017 by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round.

Comtois was named captain of the Team Canada World Juniors team in 2019 and that same year, announced a commitment in partnership with Telus to support their anti-bullying campaign.

In 2021, Comtois signed a two-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks. While financial details do not appear to have been announced at the time, The Athletic reported the contract was worth $4.1 million.

He is 23.

Global News contacted the Roy Sports Group and Allain Roy multiple times but has not yet received a response. Global News also attempted to contact the Anaheim Ducks. No response from the team has yet been received. Global News also reached out to the NHL Players’ Association, but did not receive a response.

Following the publication of this article, Comtois published a statement about the allegations on Twitter.

“I am aware of the allegations of sexual abuse made against some of my former teammates on the Canadian World Junior Hockey team. The allegations are deeply troubling, and I am cooperating with investigators to help as much as I can,” he wrote Thursday.

“I was not involved in any way with the alleged abuse, and, as far as I know, no one has ever suggested otherwise. Out of respect for the investigation, I do not intend to offer further comment.”

Born in Golden, B.C., Dubé listed Cochrane, Alta., as his hometown in the Hockey Canada roster for the 2018 World Junior championship team.

He played forward and was captain of the team that year.

Dubé was drafted in 2016 by the Calgary Flames in the second round.

Last summer, Sportsnet reported that the Flames had signed him to a three-year, $6.9-million contract.

He is 24.

Global News contacted David Cowan with O2K Sports Management.

Cowan said in a statement: “All of Global News’ questions will be asked and answered during the pending NHL investigation. Dillon did not engage in any wrongdoing, and he cooperated fully with the independent London Police Service investigation in 2018, through which all players were then cleared of any wrongdoing.”

The statement continued: “Naming Dillon or attempting to associate him in any way with alleged criminal wrongdoing, or alleging that he was not cooperative with the London Police or was unwilling to cooperate with Hockey Canada, will constitute materially false statements constituting defamation causing serious financial and reputational harm.”

Fabbro was born in Coquitlam, B.C., and played defence on the 2018 World Juniors, according to the roster.

He was drafted in 2016 in the first round by the Nashville Predators.

Last summer, the team signed Fabbro to a two-year contract worth $4.8 million.

He is 24.

Fabbro’s agent J.P Barry told Global News his client “was asleep in his own room in a different part of the hotel that evening and was not involved in with the alleged incident that was investigated by Henein Hutchison” and that Fabbro “fully cooperated” with that probe.

Foote was born in Denver, Colorado, but listed his hometown as Kelowna, B.C., on the 2018 World Juniors championship roster.

He was drafted in the first round by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2017.

Last summer, the team signed him to a two-year contract with average annual value of $850,000.

He is 23.

Foote’s agent Kurt Overhardt told Global News his client was not involved in the alleged sexual assault.

Born in Barrie, Ont., Formenton played forward with the 2018 World Juniors championship team, according to the roster.

He was drafted in 2017 by the Ottawa Senators in the second round.

The Senators signed him for a three-year contract in 2017.

CBC Sports has pegged his annual pay at $750,000.

He is 22.

Global News contacted Newport Sports Management multiple times. No response has yet been received. Global News also reached out to the Ottawa Senators but has not yet received a response.

Global News also reached out to the NHL Players’ Association but did not receive a response.

Gadjovich was born in Whitby, Ont, according to the 2018 World Juniors roster.

He played forward for the 2018 World Juniors team, where he was named player of the game.

He was drafted in the second round by the Vancouver Canucks in 2017 and signed a three-year contract with the team, but was claimed on waivers by the San Jose Sharks last year.

The value of his original contract with the Canucks is not clear.

Gadjovich is 23.

His agent Jason Harshaw said in a statement: “The events described in the story are serious and reprehensible. Jonah was not involved in the incident and does not have any comment on legal proceedings and the settlement involving other parties.”

Born in Sherwood Park, Alta., Hart was one of two goaltenders for the 2018 World Juniors team.

He was signed in the second round of the 2016 draft by the Philadelphia Flyers, and in August 2021 signed a new three-year contract with the team valued at $12 million.

He is 23.

Hart is represented by Wasserman Hockey. Regarding questions to three agents about six players at Wasserman Hockey, Global News was contacted by Fenton.

His statement on behalf of the six players denying any of the players were involved in the alleged sexual assault is above.

Born in Calgary, Alta., Howden listed Oakbank, Man., as his hometown on his World Junior roster listing.

He played forward on the 2018 championship team, and was drafted in 2016 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round. After that, he was traded to the New York Rangers then to the Vegas Golden Knights.

On July 13, Howden signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Vegas Golden Knights.

Howden is 24.

Global News contacted agent J.P. Barry multiple times. No response has yet been received. Global News also reached out to the Vegas Golden Knights. No response has yet been received.

Global News also reached out to the NHL Players’ Association but did not receive a response.

Katchouk was born in Vancouver, B.C., but lists Waterloo, Ont., as his hometown on the 2018 World Junior championship team roster.

He played forward for the team during the 2018 World Juniors.

Katchouk was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2016 first round, and now plays for the Chicago Blackhawks. In July 2021, he signed a three-year contract with the Blackhawks worth $758,333 per year, according to the NHL announcement.

He is 24.

Mike Liut at Octagon Hockey said: “Boris has fully cooperated with the Hockey Canada investigation and will continue to provide that cooperation in any further investigation. Beyond this statement we are not commenting further.”

Kyrou is from Toronto, Ont., and played forward on the 2018 World Juniors team, according to the roster.

He was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the second round of the 2016 draft after playing with Sarnia in the Ontario Hockey League. According to the NHL, the Blues returned him to Sarnia in 2017-2018.

He was brought back up later that year and in 2021, signed a two-year contract with the team worth $5.6 million.

He is 24.

Kyrou is represented by Wasserman Hockey. Regarding questions to three agents about six players at Wasserman Hockey, Global News was contacted by Fenton.

His statement on behalf of the six players denying any of the players were involved in the alleged sexual assault is above.

Following publication of this article, Kyrou issued a statement on Twitter saying he was not in London at the time of the alleged incident. He did not, however, say if he cooperated with the initial investigation.

“I am prepared to cooperate with any additional investigations in the future if necessary,” his statement added. “Given the ongoing investigations, I will not provide any further public comments.”

Makar is from Calgary, Alta., and played defence with the 2018 World Junior team, according to the roster.

He was drafted to the Colorado Avalanche in 2017 in the first round.

Last summer, he signed a six-year contract with that team worth $54 million, according to ESPN.

He is 23.

Makar’s agent Brian Bartlett said: “Both Cale and I have verified a number of times – and verify again, here – that he was not involved in any way in the alleged conduct from 2018. Cale fully participated in the external investigation. He met with the attorneys in person for an interview and answered all their questions.”

Born in Mississauga, Ont., McLeod played forward with the 2018 World Juniors team, according to the roster.

He was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the first round in 2016. McLeod signed a two-year contract worth $1,950,000. with the Devils last year.

He is 24.

Global News contacted Top Shelf Sports Management and agent Joseph Resnick multiple times. No response has yet been received. Global News also reached out to the New Jersey Devils. No response has yet been received.

Global News also reached out to the NHL Players’ Association but did not receive a response.

Born in Woodbridge, Ont., Mete played defence with the 2018 World Juniors team.

He was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the fourth round in 2016, then went to the Ottawa Senators.

He now plays with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Last year, he signed a one-year contract with the team worth $1.2 million.

He is 24.

Mete issued a statement publicly on Twitter on June 30, saying he was out of the country and not present at the event where the assault allegedly took place. He said in the statement that he would cooperate with any investigation efforts.

Born in North Bay, Ont., Point was one of two goaltenders with the 2018 World Juniors team.

He was drafted in the fifth round by the Dallas Stars in 2016.

Last summer, he signed a one-year deal with the Stars for which financial details are not disclosed. He is currently a free agent.

He is 24.

Point is represented by Wasserman Hockey. Regarding questions to three agents about six players at Wasserman Hockey, Global News was contacted by Fenton.

His statement on behalf of the six players denying any of the players were involved in the alleged sexual assault is above.

Point issued an additional statement on Twitter on July 20, after this article was published.

“As a member of the 2018 World Junior team, I first became aware of allegations made against certain members of that team back in 2019. At that time, I cooperated fully with the initial Hockey Canada investigation,” Point wrote.

“I was not in any way involved in the alleged incident and I am prepared to cooperate with any additional investigations in the future. Given the ongoing investigations, I will not provide any further public comments.”

Raddysh is from Caledon, Ont., and played forward with the 2018 World Juniors team, according to the roster.

He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the 2016 draft. He signed a three-year contract worth $2.3 million last summer with the deal, but moved to play for the Chicago Blackhawks earlier this year.

He is 24.

Raddysh is represented by Wasserman Hockey. Regarding questions to three agents about six players at Wasserman Hockey, Global News was contacted by Fenton.

His statement on behalf of the six players denying any of the players were involved in the alleged sexual assault is above.

After this article was published, Raddysh issued a statement on Twitter saying he first became aware of the allegations “against certain members of (the 2018 World Juniors team)” in 2019.

“At that time, I cooperated fully with the initial Hockey Canada investigation,” the statement reads.

“I was not in any way involved in the alleged investigation and I am prepared to cooperate with any additional investigations in the future. Given the ongoing investigations, I will not provide any further public comments.”

Born in Ardrossan, Alta., Steel named Sherwood Park, Alta., as his hometown on his 2018 World Juniors team roster listing.

He was drafted in the first round of the 2016 draft by the Anaheim Ducks.

He re-signed with the team on a one-year contract last year but is currently a free agent.

Financial details were not announced.

Steel is 24.

Global News made multiple attempts to contact Gerry Johannson and The Sports Corporation. The email listed on the agency’s website returned to sender, while the number on both the website and the NHL Player’s Association website played a recorded message saying it did not take voicemail.

No cellphone number or direct email contact is listed on either site.

Global News also reached out to the Anaheim Ducks. No response from the team has yet been received. Global News also reached out to the NHL Players’ Association but did not receive a response.

On Tuesday, after this article was already published, Johannson released a statement on The Sports Corporation’s Instagram account.

“Sam Steel did not engage in any of the misconduct that has been described in the media, and as far as I know, no one has alleged that he did so. Sam has cooperated with every investigation into the matter, and he intends to continue to cooperate,” it read.

“Both the NHL and Hockey Canada are planning to investigate further, and while that is ongoing, Sam can’t comment further, so please respect that process.

Born in Sylvan Lake, Alta., Steenbergen played forward on the 2018 World Juniors team, according to the roster.

He scored the game-winning goal in the championship final.

He was drafted in the fifth round in 2017 by the Arizona Coyotes.

Last summer, he was acquired by the Los Angeles Kings in a trade.

He is 24.

Rick Valette with Octagon Hockey said he could not comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

Thomas is from Aurora, Ont., and played forward with the 2018 World Juniors team.

He was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in 2017 in the first round.

He was then returned to the Ontario Hockey League to play with the London Knights and the Hamilton Bulldogs before playing his first NHL game in 2018.

In September 2021, he signed a two-year contract with the Blues for $5.6 million.

He is 22.

Global News contacted Newport Sports Management multiple times. No response had yet been received. The St. Louis Blues do not list media relations contacts on their website. Global News contacted their team’s community relations department on Thursday with the questions, and asked for assistance identifying a media relations official.

No response has yet been received.

Global News has also reached out to the NHL Players’ Association but did not receive a response.

Thomas released a statement on social media on July 19 following this article’s publication denying his involvement in the alleged incident, but did not say if he cooperated in the initial investigation.

“I had no involvement in, nor did I witness, the alleged incident,” the statement read.

“I look forward to cooperating with the NHL investigation as well as any other investigation if appropriate and as required. I will not be making any further public comments at this time.”

Born in St. Catharines, Ont., Timmins listed nearby Thorold as his hometown on the roster of the 2018 World Juniors team.

He was drafted in 2017 by the Colorado Avalanche in the second round, but currently plays for the Arizona Coyotes.

Last summer, he signed a two-year contract with the Coyotes.

Sportsnet reported the deal is worth $850,000 per year.

He is 23.

Global News contacted Quartexx Management and agent Paul Capizzano multiple times, along with reaching out to the Arizona Coyotes. No response was received.

Global News also reached out to the NHL Players’ Association but did not receive a response.

However, Timmins issued a statement through Quartexx Hockey on July 18 following publication of this article denying his involvement in the incident.

“I was not involved in any way in the incident that gave rise to the allegations that have been reported. No one alleges that I was present or involved and I have no personal knowledge of what occurred,” the statement read.

“I cooperated fully with the initial Hockey Canada investigation and will continue to cooperate in any other investigations as required. As investigations are ongoing, I will not be commenting further on the matter.”

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