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This article was published 6/5/2020 (204 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Screenshots showing repugnant and insulting remarks — some misogynistic, some racist, others hinting at drug use and sexual conquests — from a private group chat between several hockey players, including a pair of NHLers from Winnipeg, Brendan Leipsic and Jack Rodewald, have become very public.
The NHL and Leipsic’s employer, the Washington Capitals, are suitably outraged, and sent out scathing statements Wednesday castigating the players.
The Free Press obtained and reviewed a file containing 55 different conversations. They target various women, including accompanying photos of them taken from social media which the men then take turns ridiculing in the graphic threads that follow.
Specific disparaging comments are also directed toward the wife of Vancouver Canucks forward Tanner Pearson, which includes a picture posted by Canucks social media of her holding their infant during a pregame warm-up.
There’s another aimed at Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid’s girlfriend in a picture where the couple was dressed for Halloween as the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who.
There are also comments from Leipsic in which he criticizes several former teammates with the Canucks and even some current Capitals teammates.
There is also repeated talk of partying on the road and drug use including "molly and blow," "fresh powder" and asking another player for "schnip."
There’s also a post where Leipsic is mocking a woman who posted a picture of herself on Instagram with an inspirational message about being two years sober. "Sounds like a brutal 2 years to me," he wrote to the group.
In addition to a barrage of insults, some in the group chat brag about their sexual conquests, referring to them as "kills."
Late Wednesday, the NHL issued a statement regarding the conduct of Leipsic and Rodewald, currently in the Florida Panthers system, hinting they could face punishment from the league.
"The National Hockey League strongly condemns the misogynistic and reprehensible remarks made by players Brendan Leipsic and Jack Rodewald in a private group chat that has surfaced on social media. There is no place in our league for such statements, attitudes and behaviour, no matter the forum. We will address this inexcusable conduct with the clubs and players involved."
Comments from Leipsic, 25, and Rodewald (AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds), 26, surfaced in chats in a group called "Angels Zeee," which happened on Instagram over the past several months, based on time stamps. The names of Leipsic’s brother, Jeremey (University of Manitoba Bisons), Jackson Keane (University of North Dakota), and Jordyn Boyd (former Bison) also appear in the group.
The exact source of the leaked comments and how they came to light couldn’t be immediately confirmed.
The Capitals issued a statement late in the day.
"We are aware of the unacceptable and offensive comments made by Brendan Leipsic in a private conversation on social media. We will handle this matter internally," a spokesman said, without providing further details.
Leipsic didn’t return a message seeking comment and took down his Instagram page Wednesday afternoon. He then posted an apology a few hours later on his Twitter account.
"Yesterday, my friend’s Instagram account was hack (sic) and an individual circulated images that are representative of private conversations I was part of. I fully recognize how inappropriate and offensive these comments are and sincerely apologize to everyone for my actions. I am committed to learning from this and becoming a better person by taking time to determine how to move forward in an accountable and meaningful way. I am truly sorry," Leipsic wrote.
Leipsic is in his first season with the Capitals after previous stints with the Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, Vegas Golden Knights and Toronto Maple Leafs. The former scoring star with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League was selected by the Nashville Predators in the third round (89th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
Rodewald was picked up by the Panthers from the Ottawa Senators just prior to the 2019-20 season. Undrafted, the former WHLer has appeared in 10 NHL games, all with the Sens.
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