Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen has been put on leave following what the team says are “concerning allegations” about him.
“Our organization does not accept sexual misconduct of any kind, and the claims as reported are being treated very seriously by us,” the club said in a statement.
The Canucks have retained “external expertise” to help with an independent investigation into the issue, the statement added.
At a re-scheduled pre-game media availability, Canucks coach Travis Green declined to comment on the matter, referring reporters back to the team’s statement.
“We met with the team this morning, did our pre-scout, had a morning skate and we’ll be ready to go tonight,” he said, when asked if the issue was a distraction for the team.
The allegations, which have not been proven in court, first emerged on social media and in an interview with Glacier Media.
Vancouver police said no allegations of sexual assault had been lodged involving an NHL player so far.
“I’ve checked with our Sex Crimes Unit and they have not been made aware of any reports of a sexual assault committed by a NHL player,” Const. Tania Visintin said 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.”
The Canucks drafted Virtanen, 24, sixth overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
The Canucks are scheduled to play the Toronto Maple Leafs at 4 p.m. PT, Saturday.