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Sports: Canadiens owner Geoff Molson finally addresses Mailloux draft pick

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a man wearing a hat: Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson watches game against the Vancouver Canucks in Montreal on Feb. 2, 2021. © Provided by The Gazette Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson watches game against the Vancouver Canucks in Montreal on Feb. 2, 2021.

It took five days, but Canadiens owner/president Geoff Molson finally came forward Wednesday and addressed his team’s decision to select Logan Mailloux in the first round of the NHL Draft last Friday.

The 18-year-old defenceman had released a statement last Tuesday saying he had renounced himself from the draft, adding he hadn’t earned and didn’t deserve the privilege of being selected after secretly photographing an 18-year-old woman engaged in a sexual act with him while in Sweden last year and sharing the picture and her identity with his SK Lejon teammates. Mailloux was charged with defamation and offensive photography and was fined approximately US$1,650.

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  Logan Mailloux was surprised Canadiens decided to draft him The morning after being unexpectedly selected by the Canadiens in the first round of the NHL Draft, Logan Mailloux spoke with the media on a Zoom conference Saturday. The 18-year-old defenceman with the London Knights had asked that no NHL teams draft him this year after he had shown teammates a photo of himself engaged in a sexual act with an 18-year-old woman last year while playing for SK Lejon in Sweden. Mailloux was 17 at the time and the photo was taken without the woman’s consent. Mailloux was ultimately charged with defamation and offensive photography in Sweden and was fined approximately US$1,650.

Molson released a letter Wednesday and after reading it you had to wonder why it took so long to write.

“I understand that you expect more from us and we let you down,” Molson wrote. “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.

“First and foremost, regarding the young woman who is the victim, I want to say that we do not minimize what she has had to, and continues to have to, live through. 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.

“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.”

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  Four of Canadiens' nine picks at NHL Draft are from the QMJHL After selecting only two players from the QMJHL in the previous five NHL Drafts, the Canadiens picked four of them on Saturday. The Canadiens had nine picks overall at this year’s draft. The Canadiens picked Riley Kidney, a centre with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the second round; William Trudeau, a defenceman with the Charlottetown Islanders in the fourth round; Joshua Roy, a right-winger with the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the fifth round; and Xavier Simoneau, a centre with Charlottetown in the sixth round. “They fell into place,” Canadiens assistant GM Trevor Timmins said when asked why the team drafted so many players from the Quebec junior league.

Molson said the Canadiens will support and oversee Mailloux’s “commitment to becoming a better person” and have asked him not to participate in rookie camp or the main training camp in the fall, adding they will reassess his readiness to be part of the organization moving forward.

Mailloux is expected to play for the OHL’s London Knights next season.

Molson added that the Canadiens will work to help raise awareness and educate young men and women about this kind of sex crime, which is the only good thing coming out of this situation.

After releasing his letter, Molson held a Zoom conference, but several media outlets were excluded, including the Montreal Gazette. The Montreal Gazette was included in a Zoom conference later in the day with GM Marc Bergevin.

When asked why it took him so long to address this situation, Molson said: “It’s been seven days that I’ve been following this file very, very closely, and I have to admit I haven’t slept much because it’s a dossier where we made a mistake.

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“The reflection that I’ve made and being consulted on by so many people across so many communities to get to this point has been really important because I want to get it right. I want to make sure that the community that we operate in understands the significance of this error that was committed. I want to be proactive, I want to take action so that we can make something out of a terrible situation.

“Our decision to draft Logan was very offensive to so many people and I feel terrible about that. I apologize. I am completely committed to making it good.”

The Canadiens were fully aware of Mailloux’s situation and the fact he had asked not to be drafted so he could have a year to improve himself as a person. When asked after the draft if Molson had signed off on the decision to take Mailloux, assistant GM Trevor Timmins said: “Geoff Molson’s aware of everything that goes on in our organization and this was a hockey decision and we’ll leave it at that.”

So why did they still draft Mailloux?

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“The short answer is that is up at the draft table, the impression that we had, the facts that we had, was that he was going to be drafted by somebody in the second round, and it was an error in judgment,” Molson said. “If I had known the repercussions to the greater community beyond just the Montreal Canadiens and our fans, I think I probably would’ve — I wasn’t at the draft table — but I probably would’ve avoided that situation.”

It’s quite shocking someone in Molson’s position wouldn’t have anticipated the reaction to drafting Mailloux.

“But now I’m looking forward,” Molson said “and we have selected him, and we’re going to do everything we can to use that situation not only for him, not only to do whatever we can for the victim but for future potential victims and in the community to make sure that we do a good job and we make the best of the situation we’ve created that’s disappointing.”

If Molson had simply listened to Mailloux and respected the teenager’s decision not to be drafted he and the Canadiens never would have been in this position in the first place.

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St-Hubert will maintain partnership with Canadiens despite Mailloux scandal .
After saying it was evaluating whether to continue its partnership with the team following its controversial decision to draft Logan Mailloux, Groupe St-Hubert says it will not cut ties with the Montreal Canadiens. In a statement issued Thursday, the company said it’s had discussions with the organization in recent days and has decided to continue its “long-standing association with the club.” Specifically, the restaurant chain said it appreciated team owner Geoff Molson “taking responsibility” and publicly apologizing this week to anyone hurt by the decision.

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