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A Hockey Canada logo is shown on the jersey of a player with Canada’s National Junior Team during a training camp practice in Calgary on Aug. 2, 2022.Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

Five members of Canada’s 2018 world junior hockey team who are alleged to have sexually assaulted a woman in a hotel room in London, Ont., after a Hockey Canada gala have been told to surrender to police, two sources with knowledge of the investigation say.

The players have been given until later next week to present themselves to investigators to face charges of sexual assault, according to the sources, whom The Globe and Mail is not identifying because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the case. The players have not yet been formally charged.

London police said they will not share information about the investigation at this time, but that the force will hold a press conference on Monday, Feb. 5.

In London on Wednesday, a handful of reporters and TV camera crews gathered outside police headquarters under heavy rain to see if any players would arrive. There were no signs of any of the players as of late that evening.

Several high-profile Toronto lawyers have previously identified themselves as representing members of the team, without specifying which individuals are their clients. The Globe reached out to them but they did not respond.

The pending charges are connected to an incident at the Delta Armouries hotel, in which a woman identified in court documents as E.M. told police she was sexually assaulted by as many as eight hockey players over several hours.

The alleged attack occurred in the early morning hours after the Hockey Canada Foundation Gala & Golf on June 18, 2018. At the event, the junior hockey team was honoured for winning the gold medal at the world junior championships several months earlier.

News that police are pushing forward with criminal charges marks a new chapter in a scandal that has forced a beloved sport and its leaders to answer tough questions about its culture.

Who are the 2018 world junior players charged with sexual assault?

The case has ensnared the country’s most prominent sports organization in controversy, forcing high-level departures within Hockey Canada, and triggering parliamentary hearings, as well as two internal probes by the National Hockey League and Hockey Canada.

Hockey Canada announced that it had completed its third-party investigation into the 2018 incident more than a year ago. The findings were forwarded to an adjudication panel to determine the next steps. In November of last year, the sports body said that panel had submitted its final report, but it would not be released publicly after one of the involved parties filed an appeal.

Commissioner Gary Bettman has said for more than a year that the NHL is close to finishing its investigation, though the league has not given a timeframe for when that process would be complete.

On Wednesday, New Democratic MP Peter Julian, a member of the parliamentary committee that held hearings into Hockey Canada, said it is clear that E.M. was abandoned by the sports system and the federal government.

“I’m saddened that the victim has been through so much. Finally, though, we are seeing justice moving forward for her, and there is some small comfort I hope for her and her family for that,” he said.

E.M. reported the incident to police within days, sparking an investigation. But in February, 2019, the case was closed without charges. Court records indicate that the lead detective did not believe there was enough evidence to lay charges.

There was no further action related to the allegations for another three years. But in April, 2022, E.M. filed a lawsuit against Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League and eight unnamed players, seeking $3.55-million in damages.

In the claim, which has not been tested in court, E.M. said that on the night of June 18, she went to a bar in downtown London, where she met some members of the junior hockey team, who were there celebrating after the gala. E.M. said that throughout the night, she became increasingly intoxicated and at one point left with one of the players. The pair went back to his hotel where they engaged in consensual sexual activity.

But later, E.M. alleged that the player invited his teammates into the room without her knowledge. For the next several hours, she was sexually assaulted, the claim states. E.M. was terrified and went along with the players’ requests, at times crying and attempting to leave, but the players then “directed, manipulated and intimidated” her to stay, the lawsuit alleges.

A month after the claim was filed, TSN reported that Hockey Canada had quietly settled the lawsuit, igniting a firestorm.

Hockey Canada executives were called to appear at a parliamentary committee meeting. In July, 2022, The Globe reported that Hockey Canada had kept a multimillion-dollar reserve known as the National Equity Fund to pay out settlements in cases involving sexual-assault allegations. This fund was fed by registration fees, without parents and players knowing, and enabled the organization to keep such cases out of the public eye.

The federal government went on to temporarily freeze the organization’s funding, and high-profile sponsors including Scotiabank, Tim Hortons, and Canadian Tire pulled their financial support. Many reinstated their partnerships last month ahead of the world junior championship tournament.

London police reopened their investigation in July, 2022, days after The Globe published details of videos taken the night of the incident at the Delta Armouries.

The footage, which was shown to reporters by lawyers representing some of the players, shows E.M. in the hotel room. (The lawyers said their clients denied wrongdoing.) A male voice can be heard saying “You’re okay with this?”

“I’m okay with this,” she replied.

In the second video, E.M. appears to be covering herself with a towel.

“Are you recording me?” she asks. “Okay, good. It was all consensual. You are so paranoid, holy. I enjoyed it, it was fine. It was all consensual. I am so sober, that’s why I can’t do this right now.”

The Globe story also revealed a text-message conversation between E.M. and the player she initially left the bar with.

The player begins by asking E.M. whether she had gone to the police.

The woman said she had spoken to her mother and her mother had called police against her wishes.

“You said you were having fun,” the player wrote.

“I was really drunk, didn’t feel good about it at all after. But I’m not trying to get anyone in trouble,” she replied.

“I was okay with going home with you, it was everyone else afterwards that I wasn’t expecting. I just felt like I was being made fun of and taken advantage of.”

In August, E.M. broke her silence, telling The Globe it had been difficult to see the facts told in pieces and not as a whole.

“This is something I never wanted to draw attention to,” she said in a brief interview with The Globe. “I simply wanted consequences for actions and some accountability.”

In December, 2022, The Globe reported that the London police investigators had filed an application with the Ontario Court of Justice seeking approval for various investigative measures. In the 94-page document, police indicated that they had reasonable grounds to believe that five junior hockey players sexually assaulted E.M.

This filing provided more detail about the hotel videos. The document indicates that E.M. later told police she was not aware the first clip was recorded. With the second video, she said she felt she had to say she was fine because “I’m stuck in that room with them.”

One police officer with knowledge of the case, whom The Globe is not naming because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the file, said one of the reasons the investigation has taken so long is that a senior Crown attorney who had been slated to handle the prosecution left the job in the summer. This required a new Crown to be brought up to speed on the evidence.

In a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, Pascale St-Onge, who was the federal minister of sport for the duration of the controversy, said it was gratifying to “see this process move forward.”

“We all look forward to justice being done. Victims must be heard.”

With reports from Colin Freeze and Marty Klinkenberg

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