Logan Mailloux says he believes being selected by the Montreal Canadiens will make him a better person, despite having asked NHL teams not to draft him this weekend after he was fined for an offense of a sexual nature in Sweden last year.
The Canadiens shocked the hockey world Friday night by selecting Mailloux, 18, with the 30th pick of the NHL draft's first round. He had "renounced" himself from the draft earlier in the week after multiple news reports covered an incident in Sweden in which he showed teammates a photo that depicted him and a woman engaged in a consensual sexual act.
The photo was taken without the consent of the woman, who went to local police. Mailloux was fined but not arrested.
"It was totally irresponsible and a stupid act that I committed without thinking twice. I know I caused a lot of harm to this person and her family, and I regret doing this stupid and egotistical act. I deeply regret it," he said in a statement before answering questions Saturday morning. "What I did is now unfortunately a part of both of her life and mine. I've apologized to her, but nonetheless this will follow her for the rest of her life. For that, I deeply and sincerely regret it."
Mailloux was asked about the incident in pre-draft interviews with NHL teams, some of which vowed not to select him in this draft. But a source told ESPN that multiple teams still intended to draft Mailloux, a defenseman, with an eye on Saturday's second round. The Canadiens opted to select him with their only pick in the first round.
"The Canadiens are aware of the situation and by no means minimize the severity of Logan's actions. Logan understands the impact of his actions. His recent public statement is a genuine acknowledgement of his poor behavior and the first step on his personal journey," the team said in a statement.
Both the Canadiens and Mailloux said they are going to work together on an action plan "to guide him in his development." Mailloux sought counseling upon returning to North America, and he said he has continued to see a therapist.
As ESPN reported last night, the Canadiens did not indicate to Mailloux that they were going to select him. Despite asking teams not to draft him this year, Mailloux said he believes that joining the Montreal organization is a positive step for his personal development.
"As I said in my statement, I don't think I earned the right to be drafted but I just think my main goal is bettering myself as a person, moving forward. If that's going to be in Montreal, then I'm going to be looking forward to it," he said.
Mailloux said he was aware of the massive backlash among media and fans that met his selection in the first round. He said he has to "earn the trust" of Montreal fans.
"I want to be able to play in Montreal and play in front of all of those fans cheering and being supporting of me behind my back," he said. "I hope the fans there do learn to accept me. I do feel remorseful. I hope that not only the girl but the whole fan base knows that as well. It was a stupid, immature mistake to make."