The Canadiens used their first-round selection in the 2021 NHL Draft on a player who admitted to sexual misconduct in Sweden last year.
Montreal selected London Knights defenseman Logan Mailloux with the 31st overall pick. Mailloux, 18, was fined in a Swedish court last December for having a woman photographed without her consent as she was performing a sex act and then circulating the image among teammates. Mailloux was playing in Sweden while on loan from the Knights.
His actions prompted more than 10 teams to drop Mailloux from their draft boards, The Athletic reported, and Mailloux said in a statement this week he was renouncing himself from this year’s draft, which meant nothing because he remained draft-eligible, per the NHL. He told the Daily Faceoff he made a “stupid, childish mistake” with his actions.
The Canadiens, in anticipation of the negative reaction from the hockey world, released a statement minutes after making the selection:
“By drafting prospect Logan Mailloux with the 31st overall pick, the Montreal Canadiens organization not only selected a promising hockey player, but also a young man who recently admitted to making a serious mistake. The Canadiens are aware of the situation and by no means minimize the severity of Logan’s actions. Logan understands the impact of his actions. His recent public statement is a genuine acknowledgement of his poor behaviour and the first step on his personal journey.
We are making a commitment to accompany Logan on his journey by providing him with the tools to mature and the necessary support to guide him in his development. We are also committed to raising awareness among our players about the repercussions of their actions on the lives of others.”
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin told reporters the organization will work with and support Mailloux to ensure nothing similar happens again.
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“We understand, and we’re fully aware and we as an organization it’s very unacceptable, but also it’s a young man that made a terrible mistake,” Bergevin said. “He’s (18) years old and he’s willing and he understands and he’s remorseful and he has a lot of work to do, but he already started to put it behind him and have a hockey career.”
The victim, however, told The Athletic for a story this week that Mailloux has not seemed sincere during multiple attempts at apologizing.
“All I wanted was a heartfelt apology for his behavior,” she told The Athletic.
The Canadiens are facing a separate PR problem regarding Bergevin. He was the Blackhawks’ director of player personnel in 2010 when sexual assault allegations were made against then-video coach Brad Aldrich. Bergevin told reporters before the Stanley Cup Final that he was not aware of the alleged activity or an organizational team meeting to discuss Aldrich.
“It came out recently, there was a meeting that I heard that was done in Chicago, I was not part of any meeting, and I was not part of any decision based on that,” Bergevin told reporters. “And I was not aware of anything going on at the time. So you can go on the record with that.”
Aldrich left the organization shortly after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010. A former Blackhawks player is now suing the team, alleging that Aldrich assaulted him and another player during the playoffs that year. The ex-player is seeking more than $150,000 in damages.