Canadiens’ Geoff Molson Explains Drafting Logan Mailloux After Sex Photo Conviction

Blake SchusterContributor IJuly 28, 2021

SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY - JULY 23: With the 31st pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Montreal Canadiens select Logan Mailloux  during the first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft at the NHL Network studios on July 23, 2021 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens chairman Geoff Molson released a statement on Wednesday supporting his club's decision to select Logan Mailloux No. 31 overall in last week's draft while attempting to assure fans the franchise takes seriously the defenseman's criminal conviction in Sweden during his time playing club hockey abroad. 

According to Katie Strang and Corey Pronman of The Athletic, the 18-year-old was "investigated and issued a fine for 'Kränkande fotografering' (photographic activity constituting an invasion of privacy) and 'Förtal' (defamation)" after a woman reported Mailloux to local police for sharing a photo taken without her consent while engaging in a sexual act.

Molson said:

"Our selection of Logan was never intended to be disrespectful towards [the woman] 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.  
"Logan is a young man who committed a serious transgression. He is genuinely remorseful about the pain he has caused. He is committed to becoming a better person and we will work with him through this process." 

The chairman's comments were published on the team's website 30 minutes before NHL free agency opened.

The 50-year-old Molson laid out three immediate steps the franchise will take in the wake of the draft. First, the Habs will spend the next few months working with local experts to develop a "comprehensive plan to raise awareness and educate young men and women about this serious issue." The defenseman will not report to rookie training camp this summer or main training camp this fall. Montreal is not guaranteeing Mailloux a spot in the organization, explaining he will have to earn the privilege to play in the NHL. Finally, the Canadiens said they will oversee and support Mailloux's commitment to "becoming a better person." 

No steps or concrete actions were laid out explaining how the club will help him or how the front office will determine if he's cleared to join the organization. 

In an email to The Athletic, the woman said she has not forgiven Mailloux and does not believe he has shown remorse for his actions. 

"I do not think that Logan has understood the seriousness of his behavior," the woman wrote. "... Logan says that I want to ruin his career. I have never said that. All I have wanted is to get justice for the actions he has taken against me. If his actions ruin his career, it’s up to him. It’s not my fault."

The woman added that despite seeking a written "heartfelt apology," Mailloux responded with a text message containing three sentences. Subsequent apology attempts, she said, were made "at the behest" of Mailloux's former club, SK Lejon. 

As news of Mailloux's conviction made its way to NHL scouts, The Athletic reported that at least 11 teams took him off their draft boards. Not long after, the defenseman put out a statement renouncing himself from the NHL Draft.

Logan Mailloux @loganmailloux_

<a href="https://t.co/31ExwXJWGH">pic.twitter.com/31ExwXJWGH</a>

The Canadiens drafted him anyway, reportedly believing another team would do so if they passed:

Greg Wyshynski @wyshynski

Multiple NHL teams had indicated they might pick Logan Mailloux in the 2nd round of the 2021 Draft despite his renouncing himself from being selected, source tells ESPN. <br><br>Given that <a href="https://twitter.com/CanadiensMTL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CanadiensMTL</a> didn't pick again to No. 63, imagine that's why they took him at No. 31.

The pick received near-immediate negative reaction, including from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—a Montreal fan—who chimed in during a press conference Tuesday.

"I think it was a lack of judgment by the Canadiens organization," Trudeau said. "I think they have a lot of explaining to do to Montrealers and fans right across the country."

It's also the second consecutive season an NHL team has drafted a player with a significant criminal conviction. In 2020, the Arizona Coyotes selected Mitchell Miller No. 111 overall despite a prior conviction in juvenile court of bullying and abusing a Black developmentally disabled classmate. After initially defending the pick, mounting public backlash led to the team renouncing Miller's draft rights. 

Montreal's selection of Mailloux also comes amid an investigation into the Chicago Blackhawks after two players claimed the team's front office covered up sexual abuse by then-video coach Bradley Aldrich in 2010. Chicago is facing two lawsuits related to Aldrich, one from a former player who alleged the team refused to report Aldrich to local police in 2010 and another from a former high school player in Michigan who Aldrich plead guilty to sexually abusing in 2013. The second lawsuit alleges the Blackhawks gave Aldrich positive references to the Michigan high school where the coach was later convicted of sexual assault. 

In a post-draft press conference last week, Mailloux said the Canadiens have committed to helping him grow as a person. Molson reiterated that notion in his Wednesday statement just before the team announced it signed David Savard and Mike Hoffman in free agency. 

"We gave Logan a second chance but in doing so, we failed to properly assess the impact of our decision on the victim and on anyone who have suffered in similar circumstances," Molson said. "Once again, I want to apologize to everyone impacted by our decision. I repeat, our actions will speak louder than our words. We will work to continue proving we are an organization this community and our fans can be proud of."