Lawyer: Michael McLeod charged with sexual assault in Ontario
New Jersey Devils center Michael McLeod was charged with sexual assault in London, Ontario on Tuesday, his legal team told ESPN, the same day a report emerged that four NHL players were directed to surrender to police in the same case.
In a correspondence with ESPN, McLeod’s lawyers — David Humphrey and Seth Weinstein of Greenspan Humphrey Weinstein LLP in Toronto — added, “McLeod denies any criminal wrongdoing. He will plead not guilty and will vigorously defend the case. None of the evidence exists.” “It has been presented, let alone tested in court.”
Cal Foote, McLeod’s teammate with the Devils, Dillon Doby of the Calgary Flames and Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers – were the four who were ordered to surrender to London police, TSN reported earlier Tuesday. The Police Department has scheduled a press conference on February 5 to address the situation.
Former NHL player Alex Formenton, who played professionally in Switzerland, turned himself in to London police on Sunday. Formenton’s lawyer declined to say what specific charges his client faces, but said in a statement: “Alex will vigorously defend his innocence and asks people not to rush to judgment without hearing all the evidence.”
All five players were members of Canada’s 2018 World Junior Team. The London Police Department launched an investigation in 2022 after TSN reported that Hockey Canada had settled a lawsuit with a woman who said she was sexually assaulted by eight members of that team after a celebration party. By winning the gold medal in the World Junior Championships. This incident allegedly occurred in 2018.
The Globe and Mail was first to report on the pending charges last week, prompting players to step away from their teams. According to sources, the four NHL players were on paid leave. However, league sources said players’ positions with their teams would likely change if the charges were pressed — they could face suspension, either by their teams or the NHL, or termination of their contracts. All players are 25 years old.
Flyers general manager Danny Briere told reporters last week that he was unsure what would happen to Hart.
“We are aware of the press reports issued this morning regarding a very serious matter. We will respond appropriately when the results of the investigations are announced,” Briere said. “The NHL has been very clear that teams should refer all questions related to the investigation to them. In the meantime, members of the organization, including Flyers players, will not comment further.”
The NHL has completed its own investigation into the incident, but has not announced the results. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the league was in contact with London Police, but would refrain from commenting until “when appropriate.”