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The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

Devils players arrested on sexual assault charges

Devils players arrested on sexual assault charges
Image obtained from NHL.com

A disappointing New Jersey Devils season was only made worse when on Jan. 21, players Michael McLeod and Cal Foote were arrested for sexual assault charges. 

Along with these two NHL players, Philadelphia Flyers’ goalie Carter Hart, Calgary Flames’ forward Dillon Dube and former NHL left winger Alex Formenton were all charged with the alleged sexual assault when they were a part of Canada’s 2018 World Junior team. In 2022, a woman filed a lawsuit against Canada Hockey. She stated that she was sexually assaulted in a hotel room by members of the junior team after a fundraiser gala hosted in June 2018. After further investigation, Mcleod was charged with two accounts since he allegedly initiated the harassment. 

The players participated in a video hearing on Feb. 5. In the hearing, prosecutors obtained an order to protect the identity of the woman pressing charges and the witnesses. All five defendants have pleaded not guilty and will continue to defend themselves against the allegations. The next hearing is scheduled to be on April 30, 2024. All players involved are indefinitely on a leave of absence while under investigation.

McLeod was a pivotal player to the Devils and statistically their best man for face-offs. The Devils’ face-off percentage is the fourth highest in the league at 53.5%, with McLeod leading those stats at a 65.0% average. Due to his absence, the face-off has varied between Tyler Toffoli, Erik Haula and captain Nico Hischier, and the team’s face-off wins has regressed in recent games. 

Although the impact of his leave was minimal, defenseman Cal Foote’s absence did not come without its consequences. The Devils’ defense has struggled since losing star defenseman, Dougie Hamilton, who has been on injury reserve since Nov. 28. This puts pressure on the rest of the defensive line, including rookies Luke Hughes and Šimon Nemec, to fulfill the league’s original expectations.

Carter Hart has been a part of the Flyers since 2018 and is critical to the goal, posting a solid .906 save percentage this season, and leading the Flyers to a strong start. The future of the Philadelphia’s net is now in the hands of Samuel Ersson, who is in his second year with the Flyers but has a similar record as Hart with a .903 save percentage. While Ersson had been slightly outplaying Hart, this only hurts their goaltending depth in the event Ersson gets hurt. Head coach John Tortorella has stated that he is fully confident in Ersson to step up as the primary goalie. 

While Dillon Dube may not have been the biggest star on the ice, fans are not taking his leave of absence well. The Flames had announced that Dube would be stepping away from the team as he attends to his mental health. Even if the mental health statement was accurate, the Flames’ statement about Dube’s leave of absence has reflected poorly on the case. NHL fans have taken the media by storm to express their feelings towards how the Flames handled Dube’s allegations, as they believed the truth behind the leave should’ve been more evident. 

The season is still ongoing, and there is still a lot of progress and potential changes along the way. The regular season ends April 18, 2024, and fans eagerly await how everything folds out. 

Behind the Byline
Sophia Duarte, Apprentice Editor
Sophia Duarte is an Apprentice for the Wessex Wire. In the summer, she spends time with her family in Portugal. She enjoys watching sports, working out, reading, and hanging out with friends. She also loves listening to country music, especially Morgan Wallen.
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