Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen skates during the first period of a preseason NHL hockey game on Monday, September 28, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen skates during the first period of a preseason NHL hockey game on Monday, September 28, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C.’s Jake Virtanen set to be bought out by Vancouver Canucks amid sex assault accusation

NHL club places player on unconditional waivers, has been on leave since May 1 since allegations

Abbotsford’s Jake Virtanen has been placed on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a buyout by the Vancouver Canucks.

The team made the announcement on social media on Sunday (July 25) morning.

Virtanen has been leave from the team since May 1 following allegations of sexual misconduct.

In the days following his leave, Virtanen stepped down as the host of the Archway Charity Golf Tournament.

Later that month, a civil lawsuit was filed in Kelowna that alleges Virtanen took the woman to a hotel in West Vancouver in September 2017 and assaulted her as the woman repeatedly said no and pleaded with him to stop.

The statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and repeated and ongoing nightmares.

Virtanen responded to the lawsuit the following month, acknowledging that he did have sex with the woman, but that it was consensual. He claimed that the woman consented to the act through her words and conduct.

RELATED: Canucks’ Virtanen responds to sexual assault lawsuit; says relations consensual

Virtanen added that he did not “physically force the plaintiff to have intercourse” and denies that the woman expressed “any indication, verbal or physical, that she did not want to engage in sexual activity.”

The former Abbotsford Minor Hockey Association and Yale Hockey Academy product was chosen by the Canucks in round one, sixth overall of the 2014 NHL draft. He also excelled with the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen, recording 161 points in 192 games.

Over six seasons with the Canucks he collected 100 points in 317 games. His top season was 2019-20, when he recorded 18 goals and 36 points in 69 games.

Any other team now has the ability to pick up Virtanen if they are interested. He will clear waivers on Monday (July 26) at noon.

RELATED: Jake Virtanen steps down as host of Abbotsford charity golf tournament

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