A Globe and Mail report (or TSN's report on the G&M report, for those who aren't Globe and Mail subscribers) this morning broke the news that five players from Canada's 2018 World Junior team have been told to surrender themselves to London police to face charges of sexual assault, stemming from the long-running investigation.
That also leaves three of the eight players who were reportedly involved who aren't being charged at this time. There is no word on if they are being cleared of charges, or if they could still be facing charges in the future.
The Globe and Mail does not have - or at least has not published - the names of any of the five players, but Alex Formenton has been given an indefinite leave of absence from his Swiss league team to return to Canada for personal reasons. This may or may not be connected but the timing is nonetheless notable.
Three other players from the 2018 WJC team have gone on leaves within the past 24 hours. Philadelphia's Carter Hart was granted an indefinite leave of absence for personal reasons by the Flyers yesterday while the Devils announced today that both Michael McLeod and Cal Foote have also been granted indefinite leaves from the team.
Fellow 2018 WJC member Dillon Dubé was also granted leave by the Calgary Flames over the weekend, but in his case they specifically say that it was for mental health reasons and that he was under the care of healthcare professionals.
Sens fans will also want to know about Drake Batherson, but right now we have absolutely no new information on his involvement or non-involvement.
The NHL, NHLPA, and the teams these players play for are so far sticking to a "no comment at this time" over the news, and there is not yet a formal announcement from the London police.
We will update this piece, and the site more broadly, as more information becomes available.
There are many organizations based in the National Capital Region who have dedicated their time to aiding survivors of sexual violence, alongside many co-occurring issues sand concerns. Here are a few that you or someone you know can reach out to:
- The Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre, a registered Canadian charity established in 1974 that works to build a stronger community response to sexual and gender-based violence through offering virtual counselling services, and liaising with local community supports.
- The Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women works to bring a gender-based violence (GBV) lens to aspects of everyday life where we can help prevent and address violence. From policing, on public transit, in restaurants and at festivals, to life on campuses and beyond, OCTEVAW is a community-maker, a bridge-builder, and a unifying voice for a coalition of organizations and individuals in the Ottawa region who are all working towards the same goal: addressing, reducing, preventing, and ultimately ending GBV and VAW.
- Minwaashin Lodge provides a range of programs and services to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women and children (regardless of status) who are survivors of domestic and other forms of violence, and who may also be suffering the effects of the residential school system. All programs and services are provided in the context of cultural beliefs and values to ensure a holistic approach is used as part of the healing journey.
- Kind Space is committed to providing Ottawa – located on unceded Algonquin territory, accessible resources, events, social, and educational programming to celebrate and support people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions. In addition to a range of drop-in programs, Kind Space also offers short-term individual therapy, group wellness programs, and social services.