Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds players charged in sexual assault; team defers on whether they’ll attend training camp [UPDATED]

Charges laid on Saturday night against three players from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds are both shocking and serious.

Per the Sault Ste. Marie police service, three players have been charged with sexual assault.

On the 25th of August 2012, three males have been charged with an offence as to a female known to them. Charged with sexual assault is 19 year old Brian Nicholas Cousins of Belleville, Ontario, 19 year old Andrew Douglas Fritsch of Brantford, Ontario and 18 year old Mark Anthony Petaccio of Sicklerville, New Jersey. Brian Nicholas Cousins and Andrew Douglas Fritsch have been scheduled for court October 1, 2012. Mark Anthony Petaccio will appear in bail court on Monday, August 27, 2012. [Sault Ste. Marie police service]

Cousins is a Philadelphia Flyers prospect, while Fritsch was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes.

UPDATE: Greyhounds GM Kyle Dubas says "this is so far from being hockey situation, we have not even thought ahead to training camp" in reference to the three players being included when the Soo's camp convenes on Wednesday.

The pending legal case, should this go to trial, could affect the players' ability to travel to the United States. The 'Hounds play eight road games this season and often travel through the U.S. to reach reduce the driving distance to games in Southwestern Ontario.

From Peter Ruicci:

The Greyhounds could find themselves short-handed during games in American cities.

"A conviction would definitely keep them out (of the United States)," a U.S. immigration supervisor, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Sunday. "But in this case, with people who've been charged, we look at those cases on an individual basis."

... much of the Hounds travel schedule involves crossing the International Bridge into Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., en route to games against Ontario-based teams such as Sarnia, London, Kitchener, Guelph etc.

"Bail conditions would have to be looked at before they could enter the United States," the immigration supervisor said of individuals who've been charged with sexual assault. "They could be allowed to cross, but we'd have to ascertain whether they'd be a flight risk." (Sault Star)

Moments before the charges were posted online on Saturday, the Soo Greyhounds sent out a statement:

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 part of our program we have seen each of 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. [Soo Greyhounds]

Petaccio, who spent the weekend in custody, is required to have an earlier court appearance due to his U.S. citizenship.