Just when you think this off-season couldn’t get any worse for the Philadelphia Flyers, it did just that.
According to a release from the Sault Ste. Marie police, Flyers top prospect Nick Cousins has been charged with sexual assault. However, he wasn’t alone. Two of his Greyhounds teammates were also charged – Andrew Fritsch and Mark Pettacio.
Both Cousins and Fritsch will appear in court on Oct. 1 while Pettacio has a bail hearing set for Monday.
The Soo Greyhounds organization soon after released this statement on their website:
Earlier today our organization was made aware of accusations involving three members of our hockey program.
Over the course of time that each of these players has been apart of our program we have seen them make excellent strides both on and off the ice. The strides made over each young man’s tenure here are what makes today’s situation so surprising.
Our Hockey Club will continue to perform our duty in supporting the three members of our team as they go through the legal process. Our Hockey Club will now allow the legal process to run its due course at this time. We will also continue to support the investigation of the Sault Ste. Marie Police Services in any way possible.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren released a statement of his own on Sunday afternoon:
We are aware of the unfortunate situation involving Nick Cousins. Due to lack of information available to us, we will not comment at this time.
Cousins was drafted by the Flyers in the third round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. He produced 88 points in 65 games played for the club in the OHL last year.
While he doesn’t have the flashiest skill-set, Cousins could one day become a Flyer, and a typical one at that. He is a strong, gritty player who will agitate any opposition out on the ice. He gets under the skin of many players. If he ever wants to make it to the next level, he must improve his skating and become more of a two-way player.
As of right now, Cousins is innocent until proven guilty, but this is not the ideal spotlight the Flyers would like on their promising prospect.
Adam Pfeifer is a contributing writer covering the Philadelphia Flyers for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @Pfeiifey for news regarding the Flyers.