Former N.H.L. Player Faces Sexual Assault Charges in Canada

A former National Hockey League player has been charged in Canada with sexual assault, his lawyer has confirmed, the latest development in a case that has brought turmoil to the sport’s Canadian governing body and angered many people across the country.

Four more players are expected to turn themselves in to the police service in London, Ontario, in the coming days, according to a report in The Globe and Mail, a Toronto-based newspaper.

“The London Police have charged several players, including Alex Formenton, in connection with an accusation made in 2018,” Dan Brown, Mr. Formenton’s lawyer, said in an emailed statement. “Alex will vigorously defend his innocence and asks that people not rush to judgment without hearing all of the evidence.”

Mr. Brown’s statement did not specify what his client had been accused of.

After playing with the Ottawa Senators in the N.H.L., Mr. Formenton, 24, moved to Switzerland to play for a professional team there, Hockey Club Ambri-Piotta. The club, in a statement last Wednesday, said Mr. Formenton would be allowed to return to Canada on an indefinite leave for personal reasons.

The allegation of a sexual assault was reported to the police in 2018, when the players were members of Canada’s national junior team, and it has created an enormous firestorm over the years, even in a sport with a long history of similar accusations.

It led to a clean sweep of the board and leadership of Hockey Canada, the sport’s national governing body, provoked an exodus of sponsors, cut off government funding for the sport, spurred a parliamentary inquiry and prompted scathing rebukes from the public and from political figures, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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