Carter Hart, goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers, has been charged with sexual assault, his attorney said on Tuesday.

According to the Associated Press, Hart is among those charged in connection with the 2018 Hockey Canada sexual assault probe.

“We represent Carter Hart and can confirm he has been charged with one count of sexual assault. He is innocent and will respond to this false claim in the appropriate arena, a court of law. “Until then, we have no comment,” Hart’s representative, Savard Foy, commented on X.

Hart went on indefinite leave from the team last week for personal reasons. He was one of five professional hockey players to take a leave of absence from their teams.

Alex Formenton has been granted an indefinite leave of absence from HC Ambrì-Piotta, a professional hockey team in Switzerland. Michael McLeod and Cal Foote of the New Jersey Devils, and Calgary Flames winger Dillon Dube have also walked away from their teams. TSN stated that Formenton went to the police on January 28 to be formally charged. Hart, Dube, McLeod, Foote and Formenton were members of the 2018 U-20 Team Canada team. Messages sent to the Flyers, Devils and Flames seeking comment were not immediately returned

London, Ontario, police initiated an inquiry in 2022 after learning that Hockey Canada had settled a lawsuit with a woman who claimed she was sexually abused by eight members of the team at a banquet.

The NHL launched its own inquiry in 2022 and has promised to make the results public. Last week, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly stated that the league will publish a comment if and when it is appropriate.

Last week, Flyers general manager Danny Briere confirmed that the team was aware of the reports regarding the 2018 Hockey Canada sexual assault inquiry.

“We are aware of this morning’s press stories concerning a very serious problem. “We will respond appropriately when the results of the investigations are made public,” Briere stated. “The NHL has made it clear that teams should direct all investigation-related queries to them. Meanwhile, members of the organization, including Flyers players, will not speak further.

riere said last week he also wasn’t in touch with Hart and didn’t have a timeline for what’s next.

The Flyers will rely on goalies Samuel Ersson and Cal Petersen during Hart’s absence, Briere said.

Before his absence, Hart, 25, was coming off one of the worst starts of his strong season. He allowed five goals on 15 shots in a loss to the Colorado Avalanche before being pulled.

Hart has played in 26 games for the Flyers so far this season, including making 25 starts. He’s 12-9-3 in his sixth NHL season, the final one of his three-year contract worth $11.9 million.

What does this mean for Hart’s future?

The NHL has yet to comment on Hart or any of the others players charged in connection with the 2018 Hockey Canada investigation.

But the league could take action.

According to the NHL’s CBA, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman could suspend, terminate or fine any player for off-ice conduct:

“18-A.5 Criminal InvestigationA Player subject to Commissioner Discipline for Off-Ice Conduct may seek a reasonable delay in such proceedings in order to retain and seek the advice of counsel in the event his conduct may also be subject to a criminal investigation by any governmental authority, or in the event of an ongoing civil proceeding where the Player has been named as a defendant. The League may suspend the Player pending the League’s formal review and disposition of the matter where the failure to suspend the Player during this period would create a substantial risk of material harm to the legitimate interests and/or reputation of the League.”

London Police said last week that they will host a news conference on February 5 to disclose additional information “in relation to a sexual assault investigation dating back to 2018.” According to the Globe and Mail, the five players have been ordered to surrender to authorities in the city, which is located midway between Toronto and Detroit, to face prosecution.

A police spokesperson told The Associated Press via email that no updates on the investigation would be shared before to the news conference.

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