Lockers Cleaned Out; Court Arraignment For 5 NHL Players On Sexual Assault Charges

It was a grim day in a London, Ont., Court of Justice Monday morning, where the first appearance took place in connection to the case in which five NHL players have been charged with sexual assault in a 2018 incident connected to a Hockey Canada event. 

Lawyers for Dillon Dube (Calgary Flames), Michael McLeod and Cal Foote (New Jersey Devils)Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers), and Alex Formenton (former Ottawa Senator) all attended Monday’s arraignment by video call, though none of the players were present. Court proceedings have been adjourned until April 30. 

All players were charged with one count of sexual assault last week, while McLeod was charged with two counts.

What will happen to those four players for the rest of the NHL season hasn't been officially announced, though all were granted leaves of absence by their respective teams in advance of the charges being laid.

However, we can take our cues from a couple of developments: in New Jersey, both McLeod and Foote's lockers have been cleared out of the Devils' locker room; also, the NHL has announced cap relief for the affected teams.

Hart held a cap hit of a tick under $4 million; McLeod $1.4 million; Foote $800K; and Dube $2.3 million. 

In addition, Hockey Canada has confirmed all five of the players—and every member of the Team Canada World Juniors team from 2018—will remain suspended pending the completion of the appeal process of sanctions against those players imposed by Hockey Canada.

They are ineligible to play, coach, officiate or volunteer with Hockey Canada-sanctioned international competitions.

We would expect to hear more from the four charged players' NHL clubs in the days to come. Formenton was playing in Switzerland.

Photo: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports