London Knights’ Logan Mailloux suspended indefinitely by OHL in wake of conviction

London Knights defenceman and Montreal Canadiens first-round draft pick Logan Mailloux has been suspended indefinitely by the Ontario Hockey League in the wake of his conviction last year for taking and distributing a sexual photo without consent while playing in Sweden.

The news was announced Thursday by OHL Commissioner David Branch. In a brief statement, the league said Mailloux’s actions had violated its “expectation of the appropriate conduct of an OHL player.”

The 18-year-old will have the opportunity to apply for reinstatement to the OHL on or after Jan. 1.

“A decision regarding reinstatement will be based in part on his conduct since his return to Canada and the appropriate treatment, counselling, mentoring or education he receives from the date of this decision,” the league’s statement read.

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Mailloux, then-17, had been on loan to SK Lejon in Sweden’s third division last year when he was convicted and fined in December for taking and sharing, without consent, a photo of an 18-year-old woman performing a sexual act.

Mailloux later admitted that he took the photo during an “intimate moment,” and had shared the photo with his teammates “to impress them.”

“It was totally irresponsible and a stupid act that I committed without thinking twice. I regret doing this stupid and egotistical act. I deeply regret it,” he told reporters in July, adding he had since apologized to the young woman and her family, and had been undergoing counseling for several months.

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“I am really sorry. It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. I know that I impacted her life and I just hope that she knows how remorseful I feel and that I do feel sorry about it.”

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Mailloux was an affiliate with the Knights during the 2019-20 season, while playing full-time with the GOJHL’s London Nationals. He had been a lock to make the Knight’s blue line this past season, had the COVID-19 pandemic not delayed, and eventually cancelled it.

The Habs selected Mailloux 31st overall during July’s NHL entry draft, a decision that sparked fierce criticism from the public, including from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Mailloux himself had asked on social media days earlier that teams not draft him after news of his conviction first surfaced.

“As a lifelong Habs fan, I have to say I am deeply disappointed by the decision,” Trudeau said on July 27. “I think it was a lack of judgment by the Canadiens organization. I think they have a lot of explaining to do, to Montrealers and to fans from right across the country.”

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin defended the decision to draft Mailloux.

“We will work closely with him, give him the support that he needs. I know he’s been remorseful about the incident, which we truly don’t agree with it in all sense of the word,” he told reporters shortly after the selection.

“But he’s a young man who made a serious mistake of judgment. And we need to work with him and we did talk to him and he’s very aware of that and very remorseful. So that is a big step.”

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Bergevin said the gap between Mailloux and the next best player the Habs could have picked was too large to ignore, and he believed he would have been drafted by another team if the Canadiens hadn’t picked him.

“I understand that you expect more from us and we let you down,” Habs owner, Geoff Molson, wrote in an open letter to fans on July 28.

“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,” the letter read.

The team, he said, would develop a comprehensive plan to raise awareness and educate young men and women about this issue, and would “support and oversee Logan’s commitment to becoming a better person.”

Mailloux was asked not to participate in rookie or main training camps this fall, he said.

–With files from Jake Jeffery and The Canadian Press

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