Ottawa Senators defenceman Victor Mete issued a statement on Twitter on Thursday morning, stating that he was not present at the 2018 Hockey Canada gala that resulted in the alleged sexual assault of a woman by eight hockey players.
The names of the eight players in the lawsuit have not been identified, which has “left an unfortunate cloud of every player who was on the Canadian team that won a gold medal at the world junior championship six months earlier, in January 2018,” Mete said in his statement.
Mete added that he believes it is important to state that he was not at the gala event “when this appalling event occurred,” as he states he was away on vacation in Jamaica at the time and only learned of the story through media reports.
The alleged victim’s original claims were filed on April 20 and referred to the eight players as John Does 1-8. The claim said the players were “members of the CHL and Hockey Canada, including but not limited to members of the Canada U20 men’s junior hockey team.”
The woman alleges that the eight players assaulted her after she left the Hockey Canada Foundation Gala & Golf event with John Doe 1. Hockey Canada, which was named as a co-defendant in the lawsuit, said the organization still does not know the identities of the players involved.
Hockey Canada recommended but did not force participation in the investigation. A dozen or more players did cooperate, but several did not, outgoing president Scott Smith said.
The fallout of the allegations has led to multiple major sponsors suspending their support from Hockey Canada, including Tim Hortons, Scotiabank, Canadian Tire, Recipe, Swiss Chalet, The Keg, BDO and Telus.
The NHL announced that it would be initiating a probe into the allegations, saying that “to the extent this may involve players who are now in the NHL, we will determine what action, if any, would be appropriate.”
Mete closed his statement by pledging to help in the investigation and fully cooperating in any way he can.
(Photo: Terrence Lee / USA Today)