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Sunday, September 26, 2021

‘We let you down,’ says Habs owner Geoff Molson on Logan Mailloux draft

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MONTREAL — Calling it a “mistake,” Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson on Wednesday addressed the ongoing controversy surrounding the team’s decision to draft defenceman Logan Mailloux in the NHL draft.

Molson released a statement Wednesday saying he understands the concerns of those impacted by the decision.

“I understand that you expect more from us and we let you down,” Molson said in a statement. “The Montreal Canadiens are more than a hockey team. Logan’s actions do not reflect the values of our organization and I apologize for the pain this selection has caused.”

Mailloux, 18, was fined by a Swedish court for “offensive photography that violates privacy” and “defamation.” By his own admission, during a sexual encounter with a young woman last year, he took a photo without her knowledge and “shared it with teammates without her consent to impress them.” He was a minor at the time.

The Habs are not dropping the young player, but Molson outlined measures the team is set to take.

He said that over the course of the next few months, the team will work with local experts to develop a plan to raise awareness and educate young men and young women about this serious issue of consent.

“We will use our platform and our resources to turn a decision that hurt many people into one that brings meaningful and impactful change,” he said in the statement. “We will support and oversee Logan’s commitment to becoming a better person.”

Molson said the team has also asked Mailloux not to participate in training camps this fall.

“Being a player in the NHL is a privilege that is earned – not a right that is granted,” he said. “As the year progresses, we will reassess Logan’s readiness to be part of our organization.”

Molson added that the team “failed to properly assess the impact of our decision on the victim and on anyone who have suffered in similar circumstances.” 

Molson offered his sympathy to the 18-year-old woman victim and her family in his statement. 

“No one, especially not an 18-year-old, should have to suffer through a traumatic experience like this. We are there to support her and her family and respect their privacy,” wrote Molson. “Our selection of Logan was never intended to be disrespectful towards her or her family, or more generally towards women or other victims of similar situations. Our decision was not intended, in any shape or form, to be an endorsement of the culture of violence against women.”

In Canada, “non-consensual publication of an intimate image” is, in the most serious cases, “an indictable offence punishable by up to five years imprisonment.”

Mailloux was playing in Sweden on loan from the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League at the time of the incident.

As a result of this case, the London Knights asked NHL teams not to draft him this season, to give him time to “develop enough maturity” and “earn the trust of society.”

The draft choice has drawn criticism from across the hockey world and beyond.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that he was “deeply disappointed” that the Habs would choose Mailloux, and many sponsors have gone public saying they are reviewing their relationships with the team.

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