Three more Hockey Canada players deny involvement in 2018 sexual assault case

Anaheim Ducks' Max Comtois, left, moves the puck under pressure by Buffalo Sabres' Kyle Okposo during the second period of an NHL hockey game. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

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Three more members of Canada's World Junior Team at the centre of Hockey Canada's reopened investigation into an alleged 2018 sexual assault issued statements on Wednesday denying involvement in what was said to have taken place.

Free-agent goaltender Colton Point, Buffalo Sabres defenceman Kale Clague and Anaheim Ducks winger Max Comtois released their statements, following several other players who have made similar moves.

Point said he was "not in any way involved" in what is said to have taken place.

Clague said he was not in London, Ont., on the night of the alleged assault.

Comtois said he was "not involved in any way with the alleged abuse."

The statements come a day after four other members of the World Junior team — St. Louis Blues forwards Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas, Chicago Blackhawks forward Taylor Raddysh and the agent of free-agent centre Sam Steel — released statements of their own, denying that they were involved in the described incident.

"As a member of the 2018 World Junior team, I first became aware of the allegations made against certain members of that team back in 2019," Point's statement, which was shared on social media, reads. "At that time, I cooperated fully with the initial Hockey Canada investigation. I was not in any way involved in the alleged incident and I am prepared to cooperate with any additional investigations in the future."

The statement from Point was identical to the one put forward by Raddysh on Tuesday. Both players are represented by Wasserman Hockey.

Comtois said he will help with any investigations.

"The allegations are deeply troubling and I am cooperating with investigators to help as much as I can."

The sexual assault allegations first came to light in May after Hockey Canada settled a lawsuit with a woman who said she was sexually assaulted by eight CHL players, including members of the 2018 World Junior team, in London in June 2018.

In the weeks since, Hockey Canada has been under intense scrutiny for its handling of the incident. Last month, the government froze its funding and, shortly after, multiple major sponsors announced they were pulling their support of the organization ahead of the upcoming (rescheduled) 2022 World Juniors in August, demanding change and accountability within the organization. A public outcry to determine who knew what, and when, has ensued as well.

Thomas' statement came in the early afternoon on Tuesday, starting the influx of similar comments from players who were on the team. In it, he said he "had no involvement in" nor did he witness the incident that has been described.

Kyrou's statement came after his Blues teammate, saying that he was not in London Ont., at all at the time of the alleged incident.

"I want to clearly state I did not attend the Hockey Canada Gala and was not in London, Ontario at the time of the alleged incident," Kyrou wrote. "I am prepared to cooperate with any additional investigations in the future if necessary.

Kyrou, like Thomas, did not note whether or not he had any knowledge of the alleged incident prior to it becoming public. Raddysh and Point said they became aware of the event said to have taken place in 2019.

The public statements from players began this week with Arizona Coyotes defenceman Conor Timmins, who released a comment through his agency, Quartexx Hockey, on social media on Monday.

"I was not involved in any way in the incident that gave rise to the allegations that have been reported," the statement from Timmins said. "No one alleges that I was present or involved and I have no personal knowledge of what occurred. I cooperated fully with the initial Hockey Canada investigation and will continue to cooperate in any other investigations as required."

The statements throughout the week brought the total to nine made by members of the World Junior team after Victor Mete — who is also represented by Quartexx — released his own statement on Twitter last month, saying he was vacationing with his family and out of the country at the time of the alleged incident. (Mete's agent, Darren Ferris, had previously told Hockey Unfiltered's Ken Campbell that Mete had been out of the country at the time.)

In May, the agent for Sharks forward Jonah Gadjovich told San Jose Hockey Now via a statement that his client was “not involved in the incident.” Cale Makar, when asked about the allegations during a media availability ahead of the Stanley Cup Final, told reporters he had no involvement and that he was interviewed by Hockey Canada’s investigators. (Makar also said he has been contacted by the NHL regarding the league’s own investigation and will “be very cooperative.”) Agents for Cal Foote and Dante Fabbro also issued statements to Campbell saying their clients were not involved.

Last Thursday, Hockey Canada announced it was reopening its investigation. The lawyer for the woman who filed the lawsuit against Hockey Canada, the CHL, and the eight unnamed players told Sportsnet his client will participate in the reopened inquiry. Hockey Canada settled the lawsuit, which was filed in London on April 20, in May. The case has not been heard in a court of law.

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