Frank Seravalli on five members of Canada’s 2018 WJC team being summoned by London Police to face charges: Canucks Conversation
27 days ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal were joined by NHL insider Frank Seravalli to discuss the latest news surrounding the 2018 World Juniors Canadian team. Earlier today, news broke that five members of that team have been ordered by London, Ont., police to surrender to face charges of sexual assault, according to The Globe and Mail.
The five players, who have not yet been charged, have also not yet been identified. The pending charges stem from an alleged group sexual assault of a woman in June 2018 following a Hockey Canada gala in London to celebrate their team win six months earlier in Buffalo.
“It’s a story that continues to evolve,” said Frank. “At this moment in time, we’re at a bit of a standstill. We had this explosive report today from The Globe and Mail that indicated that five members of the Canadian World Junior team from 2018 have been ordered to surrender to the London Police to face charges of sexual assault.”
Frank noted that because the report didn’t include the names of the players being ordered to surrender, the rumour mill is working overtime:
“No charges have been filed,” Frank said. “We’re still at the point where no one has been charged yet, and it’s led to rampant speculation, which is that there are five players who have taken a leave of absence from five different teams. A lot of people want to connect the dots, try and piece this all together, but I’m not at the point yet comfortably where I’ve had someone with direct knowledge of the pending charges tell me, ‘Hey, this person will be charged.’ And until that’s the case, there’s this presumption of innocence until proven guilty, and I think we have to be careful to not paint these guys as necessarily being part of something they haven’t officially and formally been linked to.”
Harm: “What’s the NHL’s potential involvement? Are they waiting on the London Police to do their investigation before moving forward?”
“That’s the big thing we’re waiting for now,” answered Frank. “This press conference the London Police have planned isn’t until February 5th; that’s twelve days from now. We’re going to continue to hear from the NHL at All-Star weekend most likely, and unless there’s more explosive reporting between now and then, they don’t know anything. The league has been waiting for this for a long time, the investigation they conducted internally has been substantially complete for a long time, but they weren’t willing to step out onto a ledge and say, ‘We’re punishing these players because we feel comfortable in our investigation.’ What happens if the London Police were to conclude theirs and they had different information than what the NHL got? They wanted to make sure everything was synced up across various investigations; Hockey Canada also wants their own third-party investigation. It’s kind of about lining up all the facts before making a judgment or punishing in addition to whatever happens criminally for these plays. Frankly, punishment-wise, it may in some ways take care of itself.”
Quads then asked how Frank felt about the NHL releasing a report about a potential expansion team shortly after the news about the charges broke:
“I’m incredibly disappointed,” Frank answered. “The NHL knew this was coming. From everyone I’d talked to, the league had received proper notice that at least something was happening. They weren’t blind to this, and the fact that 27 minutes later they had someone step up in a prospective owner in Ryan Smith come out and issue this statement which is kind of like trying to serve up red meat to hungry hockey fans. ‘Hey, here’s a distraction, look over here.’ And part of what’s so incredibly disappointing is that the NHL always finds a new way to let you down. Whether it’s the way they managed the Chicago Blackhawks’ sexual assault, what happened there and their response to it, whether it’s the hockey diversity alliance and how much they’ve pushed back against that, or something as recent as Pride Nights. Every single time they find a new way to try and distract you from what’s actually happening instead of just facing it head-on. I didn’t see any report or statement today from the NHL acknowledging that potentially four or five of its players are facing criminal charges for sexual assault. We haven’t heard one peep. Where are you? Wake up.”
You can watch the full segment in the video below:
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