Content Warning: This article discusses sex crimes committed by the 2021 first-round NHL Draft pick Logan Mailloux.
The Montreal Canadiens became a Cinderella story of sorts with an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final just a few weeks ago. They did it on the last remaining bits of Shea Weber, and the willpower of Carey Price.
And they just threw all of that goodwill out the window with one selection in the NHL Draft.
Logan Mailloux is an absolutely indefensible pick for the Canadiens, least of all because there were higher-ranked players, or others that fit areas of need. It’s indefensible because Mailloux does not deserve the right to put on the Montreal sweater and get that honour.
While playing in Sweden, Mailloux engaged in a consensual sexual encounter with a woman, then distributed a photo of the encounter without the victim’s consent. Mailloux was convicted for the crime, given a fine by Swedish authorities as his punishment.
Despite cooperating with authorities, Mailloux has yet to apologize to his victim. In an interview with The Athletic, the victim mentions that she doesn’t feel Mailloux’s statement came from a place of goodwill and were more to appease his team and the courts. Even when asked to do the bare minimum, Mailloux failed to even come close.
When his agent was pressed on this fact by The Athletic, Mailloux’s agent claimed that he wanted to add context before the “angry cancel culture mob” got Mailloux in its grip.
Mailloux just this past week announced he was renouncing himself from the NHL Draft. He did not want to be selected while he attempted to work on himself and rebuild his character.
Enter the NHL. And the Montreal Canadiens.
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.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) July 24, 2021
Given that @CanadiensMTL didn't pick again to No. 63, imagine that's why they took him at No. 31.
Despite a player who committed and pleaded guilty to a sex crime renouncing himself from the NHL Draft, the Canadiens saw fit to ignore that and select him — in the first round — anyway. There was no reason to make this choice, absolutely none and the message the Canadiens sent by picking it is clear.
They do not actually give a damn about player character until it suits the narrative they want to control.
This is a pick that alienates a fanbase that had just come together for a Stanley Cup Final run, brought a city back to life out of the depression of a massive pandemic that cast a dark shadow over the entire world. With one action, Marc Bergevin and the Canadiens organization told many parts of the fanbase that they do not value them.
All this to take a reach on a project that is an admitted, convicted sex offender, and it’s not like they did not know. The team had a prepared statement ready to tweet out immediately after his selection, which should have set off alarm bells in every sane person’s brain: ‘Maybe this is a bad idea.’
Bergevin, Trevor Timmins, and whoever else was involved in this selection weighed Mailloux’s talents against the effect it would have and the message it sent. They clearly thought his skills (which many scouts differ on, by the way) outweighed everything else. It’s an appalling mindset.
The actions of what someone does on the ice should never outweigh damage they’ve done off it. Ignoring Mailloux’s actions and now playing personal public relations manager for his image and trying to rebuild him is a disgrace to the Montreal Canadiens organization, and a slap in the face of its supporters.
I don’t care that other teams might have chosen him in the next round, that doesn’t mean you have to take him in the first round. Again, this player asked not to be drafted, and you ignored that in a fit of grandiose hubris. No amount of prepared statements or plans to “work with him” is ever going to change that.
It’s a questionable pick for hockey reasons, but it’s an indefensible pick because it again showed that hockey culture is rotten to the core. If you’re just slightly good enough, the hockey men will ignore anything terrible you’ve done because it might slightly help them win a championship.
Hockey still isn’t for everyone, and the Montreal Canadiens organization is far from a welcoming place right now.
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673