The Canucks placed forward Jake Virtanen on leave Saturday following allegations of sexual misconduct.
“We have become aware of the concerning allegations made about Jake Virtanen,” the Canucks’ statement read. “Our organization does not accept sexual misconduct of any kind and the claims as reported are being treated very seriously by us.
“We have engaged external expertise to assist in an independent investigation and we have placed the player on leave as we await more information.”
Head coach Travis Green would not address the allegations during his pregame media availability; however, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, Virtanen was not on the ice at the team’s morning skate. Green declined to say when the team found out about the allegations or if he is still with the team in Toronto, where the team will play the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
According to Glacier Media’s Alanna Kelly, who spoke to the woman involved, the two agreed to meet and Virtanen took her to a hotel in Vancouver where the incident happened.
“I couldn’t believe that I said no and he didn’t take that for an answer,” the woman said regarding the 2017 incident. “I felt violated and gross and wanted to leave.”
The woman reported her experiences on an anonymous Instagram account and has said she contacted police. Multiple reports have stated that no charges are pending at this time.
Per Kelly, the NHL is aware of the issue and has been in contact with the Canucks.
Virtanen, 24, is in his sixth NHL season with the Canucks after being selected sixth overall in the 2014 draft.