Late in the evening on Sept. 7, while the first game of the 2023 NFL season was underway, observant Philadelphia Flyers fans noticed that goalie Carter Hart made his Instagram account private, limited comments on all posts, and removed “Flyers” from his bio. Hart, 25, has been at the center of discussions around the Hockey Canada sexual assault investigation and never publicly denied his involvement in the crime.
In addition to Hart, several other players on the 2018 Hockey Canada World Junior team have also gone dark on their Instagram accounts. Twitter users noticed that Brett Howden of the Vegas Golden Knights, Dillon Dube of the Calgary Flames, Jonah Gadjovich of the San Jose Sharks have also done the same, although some have claimed that Dube and Gadjovich were private already.
The timing of all this does hold some pretty serious weight; Flyers veterans are due to report to training camp in just under three weeks. It is highly likely that NHL teams are pushing for the results of the investigation to be released ahead of the start of camp, to allow them the time necessary to replace and/or suspend their players.
Other Hockey Canada players, such as Alex Formenton and Maxime Comtois, have not been signed as free agents. Defenseman Cal Foote has joined younger brother Nolan after signing with the New Jersey Devils, who also have Michael McLeod on their roster. It is worth noting, though, that the Devils have added a ton of McLeod insurance in recent months themselves, in the form of Curtis Lazar, Chris Tierney, Tomas Nosek, and Shane Bowers.
This summer, the Flyers have made it abundantly clear that Hart is not their goalie of the future, evidenced by their draft strategy and the contract extension offered to Sam Ersson. Some combination of Ersson, Alexei Kolosov, Ivan Fedotov, Cal Petersen, Felix Sandstrom, Yegor Zavragin, and Carson Bjarnason will be manning the Flyers’ net in the long-term.