NHL investigating Habs over links to alleged drug trafficker
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to Hockey Night in Canada’s Jeff Marek that the league is investigating a report in Friday’s edition of La Presse that links two Montreal Canadiens players to a man arrested in a recent sting operation.
“I can confirm we are investigating the facts,” Daly wrote in an email with Marek.
According to the Montreal newspaper, Canadiens forwards Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn allegedly made calls to 38-year-old Pasquale Mangiola requesting vodka, women and luxury cars while the players were at local restaurants and bars.
The Kostitsyns have not been accused of any criminal involvement with Mangiola, La Presse reported.
Mangiola, charged with drug trafficking, was among 55 people arrested Feb. 12. The suspects were allegedly part of a network of groups working together to traffic drugs in the Montreal and Ottawa areas.
When contacted by CBCSports.ca, Dominick Saillant, director of media relations for the Canadiens, declined any comment on the La Presse story. The Canadiens have not called a formal press conference, but have asked the media to be at the team’s practice at 2 p.m. ET.
Attempts by CBCSports.ca to contact the Montreal police were unsuccessful, but a phone message stated the department is not commenting on the anti-gang operation, called Project Axe, that led to Mangiola’s arrest, or the La Presse report.
Earlier this week, the Canadiens assigned Sergei Kostitsyn to their American Hockey League affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs. Kostitsyn, 21, has eight goals and 15 assists in 52 games for the Canadiens this season, his second in the league.