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Trudeau says Canadiens' selection of Logan Mailloux shows 'lack of judgment'

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MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday he's not happy with the Montreal Canadiens' draft selection of a player convicted of a sex-related offence.

"As a lifelong Habs fan, I have to say I am deeply disappointed by the decision. I think it was a lack of judgment by the Canadiens organization," Trudeau told reporters in Moncton N.B. "I think they have a lot of explaining to do, to Montrealers and to fans from right across the country."

The Canadiens chose Logan Mailloux in the first round of the NHL draft on July 23. He was fined by Swedish authorities in December after admitting to two charges related to sharing, without her consent, a photo of a woman performing a sexual act.

Some Montreal Canadiens sponsors have said they're reviewing their relationship with the team after the selection of Mailloux.

Desjardins Group, a major Canadiens sponsor, contacted the team on Monday to "obtain an explanation and to share our discomfort with this decision," Valérie Lamarre, a spokeswoman for the credit union federation, wrote in an email.

Pharmacy chain Jean Coutu Group also said it is "reviewing the situation."

The 18-year-old defenceman, who had asked teams not to draft him, told reporters on Saturday that sharing the photo was "stupid" and "irresponsible."

The selection of Mailloux has also been criticized by Isabelle Charest, Quebec's minister responsible for the status of women, as well as by groups that advocate for women who are victims of sexual violence.

Charest, who is also the province's deputy education minister responsible for sports, wrote Saturday that she was "surprised and disappointed by the Montreal Canadiens decision to draft Logan Mailloux despite his conviction for unacceptable acts." 

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin told reporters Saturday that the gap between Mailloux and the next best player the Habs could have picked was too large to ignore and that he believes he would have been drafted by another team if the Canadiens hadn't picked him. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 27, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press