Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews faces a disorderly conduct charge as a result of a May 26 incident that occurred in Scottsdale, Ariz.
A complaint filed in city court in Scottsdale – the 22-year-old’s hometown – alleges that Leafs’ highest-paid player dropped his pants, bent over and grabbed his buttocks after he was confronted by a female security guard at a condominium complex.
According to published reports, the security officer identified Matthews as being among a group of young men who attempted to force open the door of her vehicle as she sat doing paperwork at 2 a.m. When confronted, the officer said Matthews said he thought it would be funny to see how she would react.
Matthews was not arrested, but a pretrial conference is scheduled in Scottsdale on Wednesday morning. The Maple Leafs have acknowledged they are aware a complaint has been filed and say Matthews is co-operating with Scottsdale police.
The exact charge – disorderly conduct and disruptive behaviour – is a Class 1 misdemeanour in Arizona. If guilty, Matthews could face a jail term of as long as six months and a fine of US$2,500. In January, he signed a five-year contract extension worth US$58-million.
The young star, who won the Calder Trophy in 2017 as the league’s top rookie, had been touted as a candidate to be the team’s captain this year. The Maple Leafs play an exhibition game against the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Arena Wednesday night.
It is unknown why the alleged incident and the charges are only coming to light a week before the start of the 2019-20 season. The Leafs’ season opener is at home on Oct. 2 against the Ottawa Senators.
The team issued a brief news release on Tuesday confirming the complaint, but said it would release no other statement.
Matthews did not comment and his agent did not respond to an interview request.
The incident is alleged to have happened a little more than a month after Toronto was eliminated in seven games by the Boston Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The team has failed to advance beyond the first round in each of the past three years.
Matthews had a career-high 73 points in 68 games last season and scored five goals and added one assist in the playoff series against Boston. The first pick in the 2016 NHL draft has accumulated 205 points in 212 regular-season games.
The security officer’s complaint says that a fellow member of the group attempted to intervene on Matthews’s behalf and asked her not to report what happened to the building’s management. She responded by saying the incident was on video and would be reported.
A police report says a surveillance video shows a male walking toward the complex’s elevators with his pants around his ankles.
Matthews has two goals and one assist in two preseason games.