Warning: This article contains references to sexual assault
New Jersey Devils forward Michael McLeod and defenseman Cal Foote were granted an indefinite leave of absence, the team announced without further comment Wednesday.
This comes after police in London, Ontario directed five unnamed players of the 2018 Canadian National Junior Team to surrender on alleged charges of sexual assault following a gala event celebrating the squad’s gold medal at the World Junior Championships that year, as first reported by The Globe and Mail.
Both McLeod and Foote, both of whom are now 25, were on that team, though there has been no official confirmation that they are two of the five players that have received this order from police.
Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart, Calgary Flames forward Dillon Dube, and Ottawa Senators reserve player currently playing in Sweden, Alex Formenton — also members of that 2018 Canadian team — have also taken leaves from their respective teams.
Hockey Canada had been investigated both internally and externally on how the allegations from the unidentified woman, simply known as of now as E.M., were handled. She alleged that she had been assaulted by eight men before receiving a settlement from Hockey Canada.
The case was originally closed in 2019 but was re-opened three years later in July of 2022 following an onslaught of public outrage and further revelations that Hockey Canada players had been accused of sexual assault. In December of that year, an Ontario judge ordered warrants for records and evidence following case filings headlined by a 94-page police report from sargeant David Younan.
Inside the report, Younan outlined the incident that began when an older man accompanying the players at a bar in London allegedly poured a shot of alcohol into the victim’s mouth and told her to “take care,” of the players.
While the victim “explicitly told the men she was not comfortable,” and asked the players to stop, they instead took turns slapping her.
Younan went on to write that the victim “subjectively believed that she had no alternative but to engage in the (specific sex act(s)). Further, I believe that each of the suspects knew or ought to have known that (E.M.) had not consented.”