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Report: Five members of Canada’s 2018 WJC team told to surrender to London Police

Hockey Canada Hockey Canada - The Canadian Press

Five players from Canada’s 2018 World Juniors team have been directed to report to police in London, Ont., to face charges of sexual assault, The Globe and Mail reported Wednesday morning, citing two unnamed sources.

London Police announced later in the day that they expect to hold a media availability on Feb. 5 to provide updates. "We understand that there is significant public interest in relation to a sexual assault investigation dating back to 2018," London Police released in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. "While we are unable to provide an update at this time, we anticipate that the London Police Service will hold a press conference on Monday, February 5, 2024 to share further details.

"Location and timing of the press conference will be shared once details are confirmed. Thank you for your patience."

The prospective charges are related to an alleged sexual assault in June 2018 involving players from the 2018 team and a woman identified in court records as E.M. 

The Globe reported the players have a set period of time to surrender to police, citing sources. TSN has not been able to corroborate The Globe’s reporting.

A London Police Service spokeswoman declined to comment on the news report earlier in the day.

“We are unable to provide an update at this time,” sergeant Sandasha Bough wrote in an email to TSN. “When there is further information to share regarding this investigation, we will be in contact with media outlets.”

The allegations related to 2018 have sent shockwaves through Canadian sports after TSN reported in May 2022 that a woman referred to in court documents as E.M. had settled a $3.55 million lawsuit against Hockey Canada the Canadian Hockey League and eight unnamed former CHL players.

A parliamentary committee subsequently convened a series of hearings to demand more information from Hockey Canada about both the case and about how Hockey Canada has historically managed sexual assault allegations. As details about the federation’s response to the allegations were made public, sponsors severed ties, and Hockey Canada’s board and top executives were replaced. 

Against a backdrop of building public pressure, London police in July reopened their investigation into the case in July of 2022 after initially closing it without laying charges in February 2019.

In December 2022, The Globe and Mail cited court documents that quoted London Police Services sergeant David Younan providing a 94-page summary of the case in which he wrote that five former Team Canada players were believed to have committed criminal offences. Other players were witnesses, Younan wrote, adding that, “Others may or may not become suspects.”