Flames face criticism over Dillon Dube statement citing mental health after sexual assault charge revelation


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The Calgary Flames are facing intense criticism online after it was revealed that forward Dillon Dube was one of the five players from Canada’s 2018 world junior team charged with sexual assault — a revelation that came just days after the team announced his indefinite leave of absence citing mental health concerns. 

Dube, 25, is one of four NHL players that have been charged with sexual assault by police in London, Ontario. Philadelphia Flyers netminder Carter Hart and Michael McLeod and Cal Foote of the New Jersey Devils were also charged, according to statements from their lawyers. 

Dillon Dube skates with the puck

Dillon Dube #29 of the Calgary Flames skates with the puck against the Vegas Golden Knights in the first period of their game at T-Mobile Arena on January 13, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Flames defeated the Golden Knights 3-1.  (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“The London Police have charged Mr. Dube with sexual assault. He will plead not guilty and maintains his innocence,” attorneys representing Dube said in a statement, obtained by TSN’s Rick Westhead. 

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“He will defend the allegations in court. We ask that you respect the privacy of Mr. Dube and that of his family.

The charges stem from a 2022 complaint in which a woman, identified only as “E.M.,” alleged that she was sexually assaulted by several members of the team in a hotel room following a Hockey Canada gala event held in 2018 to honor their win at the World Junior Ice Hockey Championship, The Globe and Mail reported last week. 

The complaint alleged that the woman met one player at the bar and then was taken to a hotel room. The player then allegedly invited seven other people into the room to perform undisclosed sexual acts, intimidating her and preventing her from leaving.

4 NHL PLAYERS CHARGED WITH SEXUAL ASSAULT STEMMING FROM ALLEGED 2018 WORLD JUNIORS INCIDENT

She also claimed the men directed her to take a shower and asked her to say on video that she was sober.

The five players charged with sexual assault, including former NHL player Alex Formenton, all took an indefinite leave of absence from their respected clubs over the past 10 days. But the Flames have faced intense scrutiny over their initial statement, which cited mental health concerns for Dube’s absence. 

Dillon Dube warms up

Dillon Dube #29 of the Calgary Flames warms up before the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Mullett Arena on January 11, 2024 in Tempe, Arizona. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

“Dillon Dube has been granted an indefinite leave of absence from the team while he attends to his mental health. Dillon is under the care of health professionals, and we request that Dillon’s privacy is respected during this period.” 

Initial comments from users on social media voiced their concern for the NHLer, but those quickly turned to anger following news of the sexual assault charge. 

In a statement released Tuesday, the Flames clarified that they were not aware of the pending charges at the time the absence was granted.

“We have now become aware of the charge of sexual assault that has been laid against Dillon Dube. We take this matter very seriously. Because the matter is now pending legal proceedings, we will have no further comment at this time.”

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The statement continued, “We had no knowledge of pending charges at the time Dillon’s request for a leave of absence was granted.” 

Dillon Dube prepares for a faceoff

Dillon Dube #29 of the Calgary Flames gets ready for a faceoff against the Florida Panthers during the third period at the Scotiabank Saddledome on December 18, 2023 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.   (Leah Hennel/Getty Images)

Flyers general manager Daniel Briere shared a similar sentiment before the charges were made public, telling the media that he did not know if Hart was involved in the situation. 

“We’re not aware of anything. There’s a lot of speculation. That’s all we know.”

Attorneys for all the players involved have denied any wrongdoing. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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