Former Ottawa Senators winger Alex Formenton is stepping away from his Swiss pro hockey team to return to Canada.
HC Ambri-Piotta announced today that Formenton has been granted an indefinite leave of absence. Formenton has spent the past two seasons with the Swiss-based club, which said today it will not release any further statements on the matter at the moment.
Formenton became a restricted free agent after the 2021-22 season, a year when he scored 18 goals as a rookie. In a highly unusual move, the Senators didn’t re-sign him or trade him, and he eventually left the league to play pro hockey the past two years in Switzerland.
Formenton is one of five players from the 2018 Team Canada World Junior team who have suddenly taken indefinite leaves of absence this week from their current pro hockey clubs. All five have been announced in the past 72 hours.
The others are Dillon Dube of the Calgary Flames, Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers, and Michael MacLeod and Cal Foote of the New Jersey Devils.
Meanwhile, the Globe and Mail reported on Wednesday that five unidentified members of Canada’s 2018 world junior team have been told to surrender to police in London, Ontario, to face sexual assault charges. No one has been charged yet, but London Police didn’t deny the Globe and Mail report. Instead, they issued a press release to announce they will share further details of the case on February 5th.
Hockey Canada has been under heavy fire for their handling of these allegations. In 2022, Canadian hockey’s governing body reached a settlement with an unidentified woman, who alleged she’d been sexually assaulted by eight hockey players after a team banquet in London in 2018.
Since then, sponsors like Nike, Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire, Scotiabank and Esso have pulled their Hockey Canada sponsorships, and the entire HC board of directors and leadership team resigned in October.
All players from the 2018 world junior team remain suspended by Hockey Canada and are ineligible to participate in any Hockey Canada-sanctioned events.