Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen has been accused of sexual assault during an incident that allegedly occurred back in 2017, and now both the National Hockey League and his team have issued public statements on the matter.
First and foremost, for those of you who missed our initial report on the matter you can check it out here for the full details as it includes a lengthy description of what happened according to the alleged victim. Of course it is important to remember that Virtanen should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and we now know that both the NHL and the Canucks are currently investigating the matter and I suspect that law enforcement will likely become involved at some point in the future.
First here is what the Canucks had to say on the matter, releasing an official statement via their social media.
"We have become aware of concerning allegations made about Jake Virtanen. 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."
The National Hockey League has also responded to this incident and has confirmed that they are aware of the allegations levied against Virtanen, and in fact may have even stepped in and played a role in Virtanen's leave of absence from the team. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed on Saturday that the league had already advised the Canucks on how to proceed.
"We are aware of this issue and have been in contact with the club regarding appropriate response," said Daly in a statement to Glacier Media. "We don’t have any further comment at this time."
I suspect that both the Canucks and the NHL will refrain from commenting on this issue moving forward given the incredibly sensitive nature of this situation. I would like to once again remind everyone reading this today to refrain from rushing to judgement and to let the investigation take its course.
Stay tuned for all of the details on this story as we will be bringing them to you as quickly as possible.