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Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen on leave following sexual misconduct allegations

Last Updated May 1, 2021 at 6:43 pm PDT

Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen at a game against the Calgary Flames. (Larry MacDougal/CP)

The Vancouver Canucks have placed forward Jake Virtanen on leave as they investigate allegations of sexual misconduct

The team says it has engaged "external expertise" to assist in an independent probe

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen has been placed on leave following allegations of sexual misconduct.

The team confirmed Saturday that the 24-year-old will remain on leave as an independent investigation is launched.

“Our organization does not accept sexual misconduct of any kind and the claims as reported are being treated very seriously by us,” a statement from the team reads.

An Instagram account dedicated to sharing stories of sexual assault posted allegations from a woman who claims Virtanen sexually assaulted her in a Vancouver hotel in 2017 when she was 18.

External expertise will also be brought in to help with the independent investigations.

Virtanen is in his sixth season in Vancouver after being selected by the Canucks with the sixth pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.

A spokesperson for the Vancouver Police Department says the sex crimes unit has not received a report of an assault alleged to be perpetrated by an NHL player.

“I will note that we are not able to provide names of people accused of a crime until charges have been approved by Crown,” says Const. Tania Visintin in an email.

“It can be difficult and traumatic to report sexual assaults. We will investigate any allegation brought to our attention regardless of when it happened. ”

NEWS 1130 has reached out to Virtanen and his agent, but have yet to hear back.