NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, addressed the media at this weekend’s All-Star event in Toronto for the first time, about the 2018 Hockey Canada sexual assault allegations in London, Ontario, stating suspensions for the players involved won’t happen at this time.
“I don’t think that’s necessary at this stage,” Bettman explained. “That is, as I’ve repeated, a fairly complicated matter.”
Bettman followed with an explanation, conveying that the four current NHLers involved are “free agents,” as they’ve received the bulk of their salary for the season already. Their contracts all expire at the end of the 2023-24 season.
The NHL has completed its own investigation. According to the NHL Commissioner, the investigation took 12 months and they’re working with the NHLPA on moving forward with their findings.
The London Police are set to provide updates on the case at a press conference taking place on Monday, Feb. 5th.
Bettman went on to explain that he would be surprised if any of the players involved facing charges returned to the NHL before legal proceedings conclude.
The NHL Commissioner then reaffirmed the alleged behaviors as “unacceptable” since the NHL learned of the allegations in May of 2022.
“From the moment we first learned about this on May 26, 2022, I have repeatedly used the words abhorrent, reprehensible, horrific, and unacceptable to describe the alleged behaviors and those words continue to apply,” Bettman said on Friday.
TSN’s Rick Westhead confirmed New Jersey Devils forward Michael McLeod and defenseman Cal Foote are two of the five players involved in the sexual assault allegations. Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart, Calgary Flames forward Dillion Dubé, and former NHLer Alex Formenton are also being charged.
McLeod has been handed an extra charge of sexual assault for “being a party to the offense.”
All parties involved will be pleading not guilty, according to their individual lawyers.