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Team Canada signs their national anthem after winning gold to defeat Sweden in the gold medal final IIHF World Junior Championships hockey action in Buffalo, N.Y., on Jan. 5, 2018.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

A blanket suspension preventing all members of the 2018 national junior hockey team from representing Canada at international events is not expected to be lifted immediately, despite the completion of a police investigation that charged five players with sexual assault.

Hockey Canada imposed the temporary suspension last year, affecting all 22 players on the roster, after allegations by a young woman who said she was sexually assaulted by several members of the 2018 team that summer in London, Ont., were made public.

The suspension, part of Hockey Canada’s investigation into the matter, prevents all players on the 2018 team from representing their country at international tournaments such as the world championships and the Olympics, including those not suspected of wrongdoing.

However, the suspension is not tied to the court process taking place in London, and is instead subject to developments in Hockey Canada’s own investigation into the matter.

The complexities of Hockey Canada’s investigation are expected to keep the suspension in place for now, because its findings have been turned over to an adjudication panel that will decide on sanctions the organization may impose. The panel is examining if the organization’s code of conduct was violated.

Those findings are now under appeal, said a source familiar with the suspension. The Globe and Mail isn’t identifying the source because they are not permitted to speak publicly on the matter.

Five players have been charged in relation to the alleged incident. Michael McLeod and Cal Foote of the New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyer Carter Hart, Calgary Flame Dillon Dubé, and Alex Formenton, a former Ottawa Senator who now plays for a Swiss team, have each been charged with one count of sexual assault. Mr. McLeod also faces a second charge of “being party to the offence” of sexual assault, say charging documents filed in London court.

Lawyers for all five players issued separate statements this week denying wrongdoing and said their clients will defend themselves against the charges.

The wait for the appeal to be addressed will keep other members of the team not accused in the 2018 incident in limbo.

NHL’s investigation into sexual-assault allegations complete, but won’t be revealed while case before courts, Bettman says

Colorado Avalanche defenceman Cale Makar, in Toronto for the NHL all-star game Saturday, told reporters he would have liked to play for Canada in the world championships a year ago, but he respected Hockey Canada’s process.

“Finishing last season, it was a little bit weird because obviously you have the World Championships that you can go over to, and I wasn’t eligible to play in that. So I’ve been having that in the back of my mind, and not being possible, it’s tough,” Mr. Makar said.

“At the end of the day, actions have consequences, and that’s what I was taught growing up, regardless of the situation that’s going on now.”

“I can’t stress enough that I wasn’t part of that,” Mr. Makar added. “But again, I’m just going to leave it back to the people who are handling obviously the work right now.”

Hockey Canada has stated several times over the past year that until the appeal process related to its own investigation is complete, the blanket suspension would remain in place. But the process is not expected to drag on.

“Pending the completion of the appeal process, all players from the 2018 National Junior Team remain suspended by Hockey Canada and are currently ineligible to play, coach, officiate or volunteer with Hockey Canada-sanctioned programs,” Hockey Canada said in a statement in November.

An earlier statement last March stated, “until the investigation and adjudicative process of the alleged incident in 2018 are complete, no players from the 2018 National Junior Team will be considered for participation for Team Canada.”

Hockey Canada wouldn’t comment Friday on the process ahead of a London Police press conference planned for Monday. The organization gave no indication its position has changed.

The NHL announced Friday that its players would be returning to the Olympics in 2026, for the first time since 2014. Mr. Makar, one of the NHL’s top defencemen, would likely be part of the Canadian team at that point, after the suspension is lifted following the resolution of the appeal.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Friday that players on the 2018 team who are not affected by the charges are challenging the temporary Hockey Canada suspension.

“I understand all of the players who have been ruled ineligible are appealing that, so that’s really an issue for Hockey Canada,” Mr. Bettman said.

The suspension would have prevented members of the 2018 team from being eligible to play for Canada at the 2023 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship and the 2023 Spengler Cup, if they were under consideration.

The 2024 IIHF World Championship, which begins May 10, is the next event that would be affected, were the suspension to stay in place until then.

Past and present members of a parliamentary committee investigating Hockey Canada have expressed some concern the suspension is too broad, notwithstanding the appeal taking place. “It was probably quite an overreach, because you’re affecting people that weren’t accused,” said Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, who was a member of the committee in 2022 and 2023.

The NHL also announced it will hold a four-nations tournament in February, 2025, in Toronto, involving players from Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States. Bill Dally, the league’s deputy commissioner, said that tournament will be conducted under the NHL’s eligibility rules, so wouldn’t be subject to the Hockey Canada suspension, in the event it were still in place at that point.

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