TEAM TURMOIL LAID BARE
Erik KArlsson’s wife, MelindA, hAs filed An order of proteCtion AgAinst the girlfriend of SenAtors forwArd Mike HoffmAn — Alleging A CAmpAign of hArAssment After the deAth of the KArlssons’ son. reports.
A series of allegations by the wife of the captain of the Ottawa Senators against a teammate’s fiancée, detailing a season-long campaign of targeted online harassment, threatens to upend Ottawa’s locker-room, leaving the futures of two of the team’s stars in question.
Melinda Karlsson, née Currey, has filed an application for an order of protection against the longtime girlfriend of Senators forward Mike Hoffman, alleging a campaign of harassment that plagued the Karlssons after the death of their son and through much of the last NHL season
The application for a peace bond, sworn before Justice of the Peace Louise Logue on May 4, alleges that Monika Caryk, Hoffman’s partner, had threatened Melinda and husband Erik Karlsson from November 2017 to the date the information was sworn to.
This newspaper has also learned that there is an active Ottawa police investigation into the criminal harassment (stalking) allegations and that it is being probed by central district detectives. No conditions have been set out in the peace bond, which is similar to a restraining order, since it was never served on Caryk.
Hoffman and his camp, speaking on behalf of the forward and Caryk, vehemently denied the allegations.
No criminal charges have been laid against Caryk and none of the allegations against her have been tested in court.
In late November, the Karlssons announced on social media they were expecting their first child, a son they would later name Axel Michael who was stillborn on March 19, 2018.
“Monika Caryk has uttered numerous statements wishing my unborn child dead,” says Melinda’s sworn statement to the court. Erik, too, was allegedly targeted. “She also uttered that she wished I was dead and that someone should ‘take out’ my husband’s legs to ‘end his career.’
“Monika Caryk has posted over 1,000 negative and derogatory statements about me as a professional.”
Though the application was sworn in early May, nearly one month after the Sens’ season ended in Boston, team officials, including general manager Pierre Dorion, and Hoffman have known about the allegations since the end of the regular season.
Reached Tuesday afternoon after The Citizen broke the story, Hoffman said, “There’s nothing really for me to say at this time. That’s all I can say.”
In a subsequent comment, Hoffman said, “There is a 150 per cent chance that my fiancée Monika and I are not involved in any of the accusations that have been pursued (that are) coming our way.”
Hoffman said the couple believes “there’s no place for cyberbullying.”
In March, Erik blasted an anonymous online troll, who in the comments section of a post mourning his dead son accused Melinda of “popping painkiller medication” during her pregnancy.
In an Instagram post following his son’s death, Erik posted a photo of Axel’s tiny footprints. In the post, Karlsson thanked the city and fans for their support and wrote: “We feel very lucky to be Axel’s parents. Even though he was stillborn, we know we will hold him again one day under different circumstances and the joy he gave us will be with us forever.”
The post garnered more than 10,000 comments, with the overwhelming majority of them expressions of support and sympathy for the couple. However, one comment, posted by user @sandydandy45, stood out: “I feel bad for the baby he didn’t have a chance with Melinda popping pain killer medication everyday.”
It took Erik just seven minutes to respond: “How dare you. You have been making fake accounts and buying hacked ones for months to harass me and my wife but this is an all new low even for you. You are a disgusting person.”
The user @sandydandy45 has since deactivated that account.
This newspaper also found other social-media users coming to Melinda’s defence after Twitter user @petersonmegan 51 used an antibullying event to insult her. That account has also since been deleted.
“We’ve offered to co-operate and do anything it takes to find out who is doing this and support (the Karlssons),” Hoffman said, saying the Karlssons are being harassed, but denying his fiancée’s involvement.
“Obviously this is a tough time that they’re going through and we want to find out who is doing this because for some reason it’s coming into our court and it’s 150 per cent that it’s not us.
“We have nothing to hide. We’re willing to co-operate in any way to solve this and figure it out and prove that it wasn’t us.”
In recent weeks, Caryk created a new Instagram profile, which she made private. That account calls her a “professional packerunpacker,” “frenchdog enthusiast” and “Champagne lover.” After The Citizen published a story Tuesday detailing the allegations, a Facebook profile in her name was deactivated.
The peace bond application sworn against her May 4 ordered a court date of May 25, but by that time Caryk had yet to be served with the notice.
Court filings list her summer address from June to August as being in Waterloo, Ont. Her home from September to May — and during the NHL season — is listed as the McKellar Park home owned by Hoffman.
A peace bond, issued under Section 810 of the Criminal Code, is similar to a restraining order, which typically only applies in family court situations. A peace bond is an order of protection issued by a justice of the peace when a person fears injury to themselves or to their property or fears someone is likely to commit a criminal offence, though one has not yet been committed.
With the NHL draft and the beginning of free agency around the corner — traditionally a time when teams test the trade waters — there has been much public speculation among hockey insiders that one if not both players will be dealt.
Hoffman’s agent Robert Hooper believes it’s a certainty.
Hooper said Hoffman hasn’t asked for a trade, but said he wouldn’t stand in the way of one, either, and that Dorion is aware of that.
“What we’ve indicated to Pierre is that, and let’s call a spade a spade, it would be very difficult for both parties — both Erik and Mike as well as the wives and the fiancées — to coexist in the same wives’ room and the same dressing room,” Hooper said.
No demands have been made to Dorion from Hoffman’s camp, but given the intense insider speculation, Hooper said, he thinks “the writing ’s on the wall.
“In my 22 years in this business, I don’t believe that I’ve ever come across a situation like this,” Hooper said. “This is an exceptionally unique situation and one that’s very unfortunate. Hopefully it can get resolved as quickly as possible.”
Hooper said there have been several discussions with Dorion regarding the matter.
“This isn’t something we talked about with Pierre just today. We’ve been aware of this situation since the end of the season,” Hooper said.
The Senators released a statement Tuesday evening saying the organization is “investigating this matter in co-operation with the NHL and will take whatever steps are necessary to protect the safety and privacy of our players and their families.”
Hoffman’s agent also expressed his confidence in Caryk’s innocence and told The Citizen Hoffman only learned of Melinda’s application from the news report.
“It’s a very delicate and difficult situation,” Hooper said. “At this stage, we haven’t been provided anything at this point in time that would indicate Mike or Monika is involved with this type of situation.”
Hooper expressed some frustration and disappointment with only having “Mike and our side” finding out about the order of protection application from the media and not the police.
“I would have thought in this day and age ... I’m surprised they weren’t able to locate Mike quicker than they have,” Hooper said.
(As a private peace bond application, the application was made by Melinda herself, not the police. And as Caryk was the only named defendant, the summons can only be served on her, not Hoffman.)
Hooper said that the forward and defenceman have not discussed the issue.
“I think this has been between Melinda and Monika and less between Mike and Erik,” he said.
In nine seasons with the Senators, Erik has established himself as one of the greatest players in the franchise’s history.
He has finished as the league’s top-scoring defenceman four times and has twice won the Norris Trophy, the award given to the NHL’s top defender.
Erik has also led the Senators in scoring for the past five years, though he shared the title with winger Mark Stone last season, a disappointing campaign that saw the club miss the playoffs just one year after having come within a goal of making the Stanley Cup final.
Erik, who succeeded Jason Spezza as the Senators’ ninth captain in 2014, signed a seven-year, $45-million deal in 2012. The annual average value of $6.5 million made him the league’s 14th highest-paid defenceman last season.
Erik is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2019, leaving the Senators with three options before that date: re-sign him, which would require giving him a substantial raise, trade him or let him walk in free agency.
Hoffman, meanwhile, has been one of the Senators’ most consistent goal-scorers during his tenure with the club.
He was selected in the fifth round of the 2009 draft, with the 130th pick overall, and he has scored at least 20 goals in each of the last four seasons.
Hoffman earned Calder Trophy consideration as the league’s top rookie in 2014-15, when he scored a team-high 27 goals. Playing on a one-year contract, he improved the total to 29 goals the following season.
Following the 2015-16 season, he was rewarded with a four-year, $20.75-million deal, of which he is now halfway through.
The Karlssons did not return a request for comment.
Bruce Garrioch and Don Brennan contributed to this report
We have nothing to hide. We’re willing to co-operate in anywayto solve this and figure it out and prove that it wasn’t us.
MIKE HOFFMAN, Senators forward
Monika Caryk has uttered numerous statements wishing my unborn child dead.
MELINDA KARLSSON IN SWORN STATEMENT ALLEGING HARASSMENT ON THE PART OF MIKE HOFFMAN’S LONGTIME GIRLFRIEND
Senators forward Mike Hoffman said he is “150 per cent” sure his girlfriend Monica Caryk is not involved with the harassment allegations levelled against her by Melinda Karlsson, the wife of Senators star defenceman Erik Karlsson. Melinda has filed an order of protection against Caryk.