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NHL’s Carter Hart and Cal Foote charged in 2018 sexual assault accusation, lawyers say

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Attorneys for two current National Hockey League players said they have been charged with sexual assault, while a former NHL player turned himself in, in connection with a sexual assault accusation made in 2018.

The Philadelphia Flyers’ Carter Hart, 25, and the New Jersey Devils’ Cal Foote, also 25, were both charged, the players’ legal representatives said Tuesday. Ex-NHL player Alex Formenton turned himself in to Canadian police on Sunday after he was charged.

In 2022, an Ontario woman sought $3.55 million in damages through a civil case against seven players from Canada’s 2018 world junior ice hockey team, alleging that they sexually assaulted and abused her, according to Ontario Superior Court of Justice record. The players in the suit were only identified as “John Doe.” The woman dropped the suit after reaching a settlement with the defendants in May 2022, according to her lawyer.

London Police on Tuesday declined to comment on the renewed investigation, but said they will host a news conference about the case next week.

Police have until the day of the first court appearance to file the charges, a representative for the Ministry of the Attorney General said.

A law firm representing Hart issued a statement Tuesday confirming that he had been charged with one count of sexual assault, while denying the accusations.

“We act for Carter Hart and confirm he has been charged with one count of sexual assault. He is innocent and will provide a full response to this false allegation in the proper forum, a court of law,” the statement read.

A lawyer representing Foote issued a statement confirming a sexual assault charge against him and similarly denied the allegations.

“Cal is innocent of the charge and will defend himself against this allegation to clear his name. What is most critical at this time is the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair trial that everyone in Canada is entitled to,” Julianna Greenspan said in the statement.

The charges come amid reporting last Wednesday from Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail that five members of the 2018 team were told to surrender to Ontario police. NBC News has not independently confirmed the number of players charged in the current investigation.

Formenton, 24, who played for the NHL’s Ottawa Senators in 2017, took an indefinite leave of absence from Swiss Hockey Club Ambri-Piotta last Wednesday. His legal team did not comment on which charges Formenton faces from police in London, Ontario, but confirmed it was in relation to the 2018 allegation.

“Alex will vigorously defend his innocence and asks that people not rush to judgment without hearing all of the evidence,” Daniel Brown, one of the attorneys representing Formenton, said in a statement to NBC News on Tuesday.

Like Formenton, Hart and Foote — as well as two other NHL players who were on the 2018 World Juniors team — took indefinite leaves of absence amid reporting about the investigation. The two other NHL players were Michael McLeod of the Devils and Dillon Dubé of the Calgary Flames. 

The NHL said it would not comment on the charges against any of the players. Representatives from Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League did not respond to a request for comment.

NBC News has not confirmed whether the four other players on leave are the ones who have been asked to surrender to police. Their agents did not respond to phone calls or emails about the investigation.

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