Cale Makar speaks out after being banned from Olympics
Zuma Press  

Cale Makar speaks out after being banned from Olympics

This doesn't seem fair at all!



London Police held a brief press conference this afternoon to update the public on their investigation into allegations against members of Hockey Canada's 2018 World Junior Championship roster.

Former Hockey Canada players and NHLers Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers), Michael McLeod (New Jersey Devils), Dillon Dube (Calgary Flames), Cal Foote (New Jersey Devils) and former NHLer Alex Formenton (Ottawa Senators) have all been formally charged with one count off sexual assault. McLeod is facing an additional count of sexual assault for being a “party to the offense” which reportedly is in relation to “aiding someone else in committing the offense”.

From NHL insider Chris Johnston, who was at the press conference:

Personally, I found the entire press conference to be kind of jarring and bizarre. London Police Chief Thai Truong made a prolonged apology to the alleged victim (E.M.)0. in the case and kind of went off on a tangent, espousing some personal beliefs along the way. Reporters were hoping for some answers as to why charges weren't laid earlier or when they would be able rto get more specifics on what exactly transpired, but Chief Truong was short on details.

Truong said London police conducted a comprehensive review of their original case from 2018 in 2022 and discovered new evidence that paved the way for police to reopen the case and subsequently lay sexual assault charges.

Truong: “I want to recognize the victim for her courage and incredible strength…” 

It wasn't made clear what that new evidence was.

Chief Truong offered “my sincerest apology to the victim” for the amount of time it has taken from the time E.M made a complaint to police in June 2018 until the players were charged with sexual assault this month, nearly six years on.

Lead TSN reporter Rick Westhead got no response when he asked, "Did anyone from Hockey Canada interfere with this investigation or the original investigation?" In fact, not only did Westhead not get a response, but London Police shut the press conference down immediately following Westhead's very pointed question.

Personally, the whole thing came off to me as a bit unprepared.

Hockey Canada has since released a statement stating it has "cooperated fully with the London Police Service throughout its investigation" and remains "committed to continuing to support the legal process."

Frankly, Hockey Canada's entire statement just reads like a list of excuses to me.

“Hockey Canada recognizes that in the past we have been too slow to act and that in order to deliver the meaningful change that Canadians expect of us, we must work diligently and urgently to ensure that we are putting in place the necessary measures to regain their trust, and provide all participants with a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment on and off the ice,” said Katherine Henderson, president and chief executive officer of Hockey Canada in a prepared statement.

Henderson would go on to clarify that Hockey Canada is, "committed to being transparent and accountable to Canadians as we drive these important changes forward and empower victims of maltreatment to feel comfortable to bring forward their complaints in a process that is victim-centred and trauma-informed."

Hockey Canada has officially suspended all five players charged in the investigation, excluding them for eligibility to play, coach, officiate or volunteer with any Hockey Canada-sanctioned programs. In other words... they're done wearing the Maple Leaf. Interestingly enough, every other member of that team including NHL players like Cale Makar, Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou who have all been cleared of any involvement, are still under temporary suspension from Team Canada events.

Odd to penalize guys who had absolutely nothing to do with the allegations and who weren't even present at the time of the alleged incident. This means that until a further ruling Makar, Thomas and Kyrou are all ineligible to join Team Canada at the Olympics in 2026 in Milan, Italy. Obviously Makar is one of the best Canadian defensemen in the NHL and losing him for no apparent reason would be a huge blow to this team's roster.

Makar spoke on the allegations and how he's been lumped in with them this past weekend at the NHL's All Star Weekend.

“It’s tough. I’ve been told not to comment on that ongoing investigation. I’ve been straightforward from the start. I wasn’t there,” Makar said. “It was a very fortunate bounce to not obviously be a part of something like that. I’m just going to leave it to the people who are handling the work right now. I can’t stress enough that I wasn’t part of that.”

Source: Elliotte Friedman