The Canucks put forward Jake Virtanen on leave on Saturday following allegations of sexual misconduct.
“We have learned about the disturbing allegations made about Jake Virtanen,” the Canucks statement read. “Our organization does not accept any sexual misconduct of any kind and the reported allegations are treated very seriously by us.
“We have hired outside expertise to help with an independent investigation and we have put the player on leave pending further information.”
Head coach Travis Green did not respond to the allegations during his pre-game media availability; however, by Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, Virtanen was not on the ice during the team’s morning skate. Green declined to say when the team was made aware of the allegations or if he is still with the team in Toronto, where the team will face the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
According to Alanna Kelly of Glacier Media, who spoke to the woman involved, the two agreed to meet and Virtanen took her to a Vancouver hotel where the incident happened.
“I couldn’t believe I said no and he didn’t take that for an answer,” the woman said of the 2017 incident. “I felt violated and disgusting and wanted to leave. “
The woman reported her experiences on an anonymous Instagram account and said she contacted police. Several reports indicate that no charges are pending at this time.
Per Kelly, the NHL is aware of the problem and has been in contact with the Canucks.
Virtanen, 24, is in his sixth NHL season with the Canucks after being selected sixth in the 2014 Draft.