MONTREAL — Logan Mailloux said he knows second chances are earned and not just handed out, even if he’s been given one by the Montreal Canadiens before even he felt he deserved it.
Mailloux also said he knows gaining the trust of thousands of Canadiens fans who were outwardly disturbed by Montreal’s decision to select him in the first round of the NHL Draft is in order. He was charged with invasion of privacy and defamation for sharing pictures of himself engaged in sexual activities with a woman who did not consent to having such pictures taken and shared, and he’s under no illusions about how he’ll be received until he can demonstrate he’s sincere in his remorse and that he’s changed — if he even can.
“All I can hope for is that they do (believe me) and that they can trust me,” said Mailloux during his first media availability following his selection, 31st overall, by the Canadiens in a draft he had earlier in the week renounced himself from.
“I made a stupid mistake,” the Belle River, Ont., native added of his crime in Sweden last year, “and I think I need to earn back that trust. It’s not something that should be given to me at all. I think that’s sort of the reason why I came out with that statement on Tuesday is that I felt it was a right that I had not earned to get drafted in the NHL. And I do think, being in Montreal, I want to further myself as an individual and a person, and I hope that I can be a positive impact on the community moving forward and I think that they’ll be able to help me along those guidelines here.”
How the Canadiens intend to do that is still in question.
When Sportsnet asked general manager Marc Bergevin what steps the Canadiens will take to support Mailloux in his rehabilitation, he didn’t offer any specifics.
Mailloux said roughly 12 hours later, on Saturday, plans were being discussed with the Canadiens, but no initiatives had been set.
“I just know that they’re going to be able to help with that,” Mailloux said, “and sort of get me on the right track for sure.”
The 18-year-old’s own steps towards self-improvement in the lead up to being drafted on Saturday night were outlined in his opening statement (read in both English and French), and in answers he provided to questions thereafter.
“During an intimate moment with a young woman, I took a picture of us without her consent,” Mailloux started. “I sent it to my teammates to impress them. It was totally irresponsible and a stupid act that I committed without thinking twice. For that lack of judgment on my part, I was fined ($1,650) by Swedish law. I know I caused a lot of harm to this person and their family, and I regret doing this stupid and egotistical act. I deeply regret it. What I did now is unfortunately a part of both her life and mine. I’ve apologized to her but, nonetheless, this will follow her for the rest of her life, and for that, I deeply and sincerely regret it.”
When Sportsnet asked Mailloux if he had made additional attempts to reconcile with his victim after she had told The Athletic earlier this week she didn’t believe she received a “heartfelt” apology from him, he said, “At this point, I just hope she does know that I am sincere about this. I am really sorry. It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever done, and I know that it impacted her life. And I just hope that she knows how remorseful I feel, and I do feel sorry about it.”
Mailloux, who spent the season with third-tier Swedish team SK Lejon, on loan from the London Knights after the OHL cancelled its schedule due to COVID-19 concerns, said months of therapy since the incident have set him on the right path.
“I’ve been meeting with a therapist, and she helps me go through just what’s going in on my life and how I can better myself moving forward here with this situation,” Mailloux explained. “And just with myself, just with everything going on in my life, it’s definitely something that has helped me sort of stay level and be able to navigate my way through this journey.”
A step he said he intends to take moving forward will be to share his story with future generations of players in order to dissuade them from acting as he did.
That Mailloux didn’t have a plan beyond that only affirmed how dismaying it was the Canadiens chose to select him at this juncture. A report of his crime only surfaced publicly in North America on July 16, when DailyFaceoff.com published this interview with him. And he explained that, after he posted his statement renouncing himself from the draft on July 20, he had no contact with the Canadiens or any other team looking to further identify if he had in fact matured from this incident.
“I had multiple meetings,” Mailloux said. “Interviews and meetings with Montreal throughout the year. But over the past week or so, since I released that statement, I haven’t spoken with anybody. So, it’s been quiet on that front since then.”
To think there was sufficient time to make a proper character assessment here is questionable at best — especially since Mailloux explicitly expressed there wasn’t.
“I haven’t said that I think I deserve to be drafted,” he said. “Like I said in my statement, I did not think that I earned the right to be drafted.”
Neither did at least 11 teams, according to The Athletic. And DailyFaceoff.com reported at least six of those teams refused to even meet with Mailloux in the lead up to the draft.
Mailloux, the six-foot-three, 212-pounder who was ranked 23rd in NHL central scouting’s final listing of North American skaters, was passed over 29 times before the Canadiens shocked the hockey world and selected him.
“Just on the hockey side, we saw players who were picked before him — we’re only talking about the hockey side right now — he was a step ahead of them,” Bergevin said after repeating several times that what Mailloux had done was “unacceptable.”
“And from the players available — just from the hockey side — he was the best pick,” Bergevin continued.
From the moral side, there was no defending the pick. It was obviously made to partially supplant what was lost when 22-year-old right-handed defenceman Cale Fleury was selected by the Kraken in the Seattle Expansion Draft on Wednesday and when right-handed defenceman and captain of the Canadiens, Shea Weber, was confirmed on Thursday as having his career cut short by a multitude of injuries, and the backlash from fans has been voluminous and ferocious.
Mailloux expects to face it head on.
“I hope the fans there do learn to accept me,” he said. “And I do feel remorseful, and I hope that not only the girl but the whole fanbase knows that as well. This was a stupid mistake that I made, and immature mistake.”
Mailloux insists he’s already grown.
“I think just over the past eight months, just going through this, I think I’ve changed as a person a lot,” he said. “I think I’ve changed a lot of character traits about myself. I look at situations differently, I look at things differently, I think differently about different situations. So, I just think I’m more thoughtful now and I’m more careful with everything, and I think that I care a lot more. Like I said, I’m more thoughtful, and I just hope that I can continue to better myself in different aspects moving forward.”
Proving that will be necessary.