Rumor: Flames, Flyers and Devils hoping the NHL will bend the rules for them
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Rumor: Flames, Flyers and Devils hoping the NHL will bend the rules for them

Regarding the 2018 World Juniors situation.

Trevor Connors

According to a report from NHL insider Frank Seravalli, the Calgary Flames, New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers are all expecting the NHL to make a ruling on the fate of Dillon Dube, Cal Foote, Michael McLeod and Carter Hart before the month's end. 

Specifically, the teams are hoping that the NHL makes a ruling whereby these teams can retain the rights of their players without having to submit them a contract.

From Seravalli:

"Right now, the Flyers, Flames and Devils are in limbo. If pressed, they are all unlikely to issue qualifying offers to retain the rights of these players. However, the judicial process has not yet begun, and all four have proclaimed their innocence through barristers and are owed due process. All [three] teams are hoping that the NHL will step in and take the issue out of their hands, which could allow the teams to retain their rights without the need for qualifying offers pending the judicial process and, of course, any potential league discipline that might follow." - Frank Seravalli

- Frank Seravalli

Each of these players, of course, have been charged with sexual assault stemming from an investigation of Team Canada's 2018 World Junior roster by London, Ontario police. Former Ottawa Senators forward Alex Formenton has also been charged in the investigation. Formenton received a qualifying offer from the Senators when his deal expired in 2022 to retain his rights, but they have yet to sign him to a new contract. It seems likely to me that the Flames, Devils and Flyers are effectively trying to hang on to their players' rights, while not making the awful PR move of offering them qualifying contracts. Should they choose to not qualify the players though, they'll become unrestricted free agents. So, again it sounds like the teams are hoping the league will enable them a special loophhole.

Honestly... I don't see this ending well for the teams either way.

If the NHL won't bend the rules then they'll be forced to offer contracts to alleged sexual offenders... not a great look. If the NHL does bend the rules, then it looks like these teams and being made favorites by Gary Bettman and his buddies. Damned if ya do... damned if ya don't.

I think the only real solution is for the teams to simply walk away. Let the players become free agents. If the process plays out and these young men are cleared of the allegations then you can re-engage with them. If you lose out on them to another team then so be it, but at least you can stand behind your principles. Increasingly though, it doesn't seem like NHL teams operate on principle anymore.

Read below for full context of the situation courtesy of TSN reporter Rick Westhead and reporters at The Globe and Mail.

Full credit to TSN's Rick Westhead and to multiple reporters at The Globe and Mail for keeping on top of this story. If these allegations weren't brought forth to the public, there's a very real chance that Hockey Canada would have simply swept this under the rug.

With all of the information floating around online these days, I figured it would be worthwhile to take a look again at the video and text message exchanges between one of the accused players and the victim herself, released by The Globe and Mail back in July, 2022.

Lawyers released text messages and videos to The Globe and Mail which seem to contradict, but nevertheless shed more light onto what exactly happened that evening. First, the Globe acquired videos which showed the alleged victim stating that the acts that evening were consensual.

From the Globe:

The first video clip shown to The Globe is six seconds long and was recorded at 3:25 a.m. on June 19, 2018, the lawyers said. It shows a woman from the neck up. A male voice can be heard saying “You’re ok with this?”

“I’m ok with this,” the woman says.

The second clip is 12 seconds long and taken about an hour later at 4:26 a.m. The same woman appears to be covering herself with a towel in a hotel room, with a closed door to the hallway visible in the background.

“Are you recording me?” she asks. “Ok, good. It was all consensual. You are so paranoid, holy. I enjoyed it, it was fine. It was all consensual. I am so sober, that’s why I can’t do this right now.”

Now, it should be noted that these statements could be made under duress. After all, the young woman was presumably still in the hotel room with 8 young men at the time of the recordings. And I mean... who films acknowledgement of sexual consent? Seems odd to me, but then again I've been off the free agent market for awhile now so what do I know? In any case, the woman's claims in a text message the next day with one of those young men seem to point to the fact that she wasn't in fact "ok with it." After her and her mother filed a report with police, this text interaction happened between herself and an unnamed player.

More from the Globe:

“You said you were having fun,” the player wrote.

“I was really drunk, didn’t feel good about it at all after. But I’m not trying to get anyone in trouble,” she replied.

“I was ok with going home with you, it was everyone else afterwards that I wasn’t expecting. I just felt like I was being made fun of and taken advantage of.”

In her statement to police the woman claims alleges "she felt an imminent fear of physical harm and at times was crying and tried to leave the room" but was “directed, manipulated and intimidated into remaining, after which she was subjected to further sexual assaults.”

Despite this, it appears from her text messages that she did try to walk back her statements police.

Again, more from the Globe:

“You need to talk to your mother right now and straighten things out with the police before this goes to far. This is a serious matter that she is misrepresenting and could have significant implications for a lot of people including you,” the player wrote.

The woman apologized for any trouble it might have already caused.

“Can you please figure out how to make this go away and contact the police,” the player asked. He texted a few times over the next few hours to check whether anything had been done.

“I appreciate that your going to put an end to this I know this must not be easy for you to have to call the police and say this was a mistake,” he wrote.

Finally that evening the woman said, “Told them I’m not going to pursue it any further and that it was a mistake. You should be good now so hopefully nothing more comes of it,” she wrote.

Suffice it to say that there's some very conflicting information here and we can only hope that the truth ultimately comes out and plays out in court.

Source: Frank Seravalli