The Philadelphia Flyers are going to be down one of their stars following the announcement that goalie Carter Hart would be taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team. Following the news, which was shrouded in some mystery, many fans are wondering what happened to Carter that has led him to step away.
There has also been plenty of speculation about what the reason for Carter's absence might be. Here's what we know about why Carter is taking a leave of absence, and what's very much still unclear.
What happened to Carter Hart?
On Jan. 23, 2024, Philadelphia Flyers general manager Daniel Briere announced that Carter would be taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team.
“Carter Hart has requested and been granted an indefinite leave of absence citing personal reasons. The club will have no further comment at this time,” he said in a brief statement. When a reporter asked Daniel if Carter was healthy, Carter responded with a simple "yes."
The announcement came following the news that Carter hadn't participated in the morning skate on Jan. 23, 2024, and after the team's head coach announced that Samuel Ersson would be making his second consecutive start as the team's goaltender.
While the team hasn't made any public comment about why Carter is stepping away from the team, he has dealt with health issues at various points throughout this season.
He suffered a back injury and food poisoning in November 2023, and was out in December 2023 with an undisclosed illness.
“It has been going on for a while,” Carter explained at the time. “I used to never get sick and now I think I’ve been sick three times in the last month, so something is going on. It’s good that we got to the bottom of it and figured it out. Now I can take the right steps to treat it and fix it and feel better going forward.”
Fans have speculated about what Carter's leave of absence could be related to.
Given the news that he's healthy, some fans are speculating about whether Carter's leave of absence could be related to an investigation into his conduct at the WJC tournament in 2018. Carter was a member of the Canadian junior team at the time, and a lawsuit was filed in 2022 that accused him of sexual assault during that tournament.
Fans noted that Dillon Dube, who was one of Carter's teammates during that tournament, also took a leave of absence recently, and are wondering whether charges or some other serious allegation may be released soon.
In his previous statements about the investigation, Carter emphasized that he was cooperating with the NHL completely as they looked into the matter.
On Jan. 24, 2024, news broke that five members of the Canadian team from 2018 have been ordered to surrender to authorities. There has been no word yet on which five members have been ordered, but it's becoming increasingly likely that Carter and Dillon's leaves of absence are connected to this development.