We now have suspicions of who “Player #1” is from 2018 World Juniors investigation

We now have suspicions of who “Player #1” is from 2018 World Juniors investigation

TSN reporter Rick Westhead wades through police records and gets to the bottom of things.



Before we dig into this story fully, let's take a moment to appreciate the work of TSN lead investigative reporter Rick Westhead. 

Westhead not only  broke the news of the 2018 World Juniors sexual assault case to the general public, but he has pushed Hockey Canada and the London Police Department to the point where public sentiment forced them to engage in a second investigation.

He was also at the forefront of the David Aldrich scandal with the Chicago Blackhawks and helped bring justice for Kyle Beach and his family. 

Westhead's work for alleged victims and undermined individuals in the hockey world cannot be understated. The guy talks the talk and walks the walk. He's the real now.


Today Westhead has confirmed that London Police have officially charged former 2018 World Juniors players Michael McLeod, Carter Hart, Dillon Dube, Cal Foote and Alex Formenton with sexual assault, stemming from an incident in June 2018 following a team gala in London, Ontario.

What's most interesting to me though is that McLeod is actually charged with an additional charge on top of the sexual assault charge that all five players are facing. McLeod is the only one of the individuals facing an additional charge of "being a party to the offence."

From Westhead:

Personally, I have no idea what this additional charge indicates, but the sentiment online seems to be that it could mean McLeod is, in fact, "Player 1" as described in police reports.

If you haven't yet read the police reports with full transcriptions of text messages and videos between the alleged victim and "Player 1", read below.

From the Globe & Mail:

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. We can't confirm that McLeod is indeed "Player 1", but public sentiment certainly seems to be trending that way.

Source: Rick Westhead