PHILADELPHIA — As NHL training camps get underway this week, the greater hockey community is still searching for answers in the midst of multiple ongoing investigations into Hockey Canada’s handling of a sexual assault allegation involving members of their 2018 World Juniors team.
TSN reported in May that Hockey Canada settled a lawsuit out of court with a woman who claimed to be sexually assaulted by eight Canadian Hockey League players, including members of the 2018 Canadian World Juniors team, in a hotel room after a Hockey Canada Foundation gala in London, Ontario, in June of that year.
The woman filed those allegations to the Ontario Superior Court in London on April 20. The eight players were referred to in the statement of claim as John Does 1-8 and have not been identified. Additionally, the woman has not been identified.
After news of the settlement led to public criticism of Hockey Canada’s handling of the alleged sexual assault, the NHL launched its own investigation into the incident. Several members of Canada’s 2018 World Juniors team are currently playing in the NHL, including Flyers goalie Carter Hart. In addition, the London police and Hockey Canada reopened their investigations.
Hart, 24, commented publicly on the investigation process for the first time on Thursday.
“I can’t really talk about it right now,” Hart said. “I wish I could. I’m respecting the process with the NHL and fully cooperating with their investigation. But that’s all I can really say.”
When asked specifically if he is cooperating with the reopened London police and Hockey Canada investigations, Hart reiterated, “That’s all I can say right now.”
It is unclear if Hart participated in the initial investigations that followed the alleged sexual assault in 2018. Hart’s agent, Judd Moldaver of Wasserman Hockey, did not respond to The Philadelphia Inquirer’s multiple attempts to reach him via email and by phone for comment.
A Canadian parliamentary committee met with Hockey Canada officials on June 20 to discuss the handling of the alleged sexual assault. Officials that testified before the committee said that the players on the 2018 World Juniors team were “strongly encouraged” to participate in the initial Hockey Canada investigation, but their cooperation was not mandatory.
Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said that he does not know how long the NHL investigation will take and that he believes that every current NHL player that was on Canada’s 2018 World Juniors roster has cooperated with the league’s investigation.
“First of all, this is a really serious matter,” Fletcher said. “I think we all understand that. The NHL is conducting an investigation. They’ve been pretty adamant with all of us that at this point, we should refrain from making comment. We should direct all questions to them. Certainly understand the question. It’s a serious matter. But at this point, I’ll refrain from speaking until the NHL releases their investigation.”
Hart was Canada’s starting goalie at the 2018 World Juniors when he was 19 years old. He played in six of Canada’s seven games at the tournament, in which they won gold.