Canucks place Jake Virtanen on leave following sexual misconduct allegations

The Vancouver Canucks have placed forward Jake Virtanen, 24, on leave after concerning allegations surfaced against the player on Saturday.

NHL team has 'engaged external expertise to assist in an independent investigation'

The Canucks on Saturday placed forward Jake Virtanen on leave after saying 'concerning allegations' surfaced against the 24-year-old forward. (Rich Lam/Getty Images)

The Vancouver Canucks have placed right-winger Jake Virtanen on leave following allegations of sexual misconduct.

The team released a statement Saturday saying it "does not accept sexual misconduct of any kind and the claims as reported are being treated very seriously."

The Canucks say they have "engaged external expertise" to assist in an independent investigation and Virtanen has been placed on leave as the team awaits more information.

An NHL spokesperson said Saturday the league is aware of the serious allegations and will not comment until the results of the independent investigation are complete.

No charges have been laid, and neither Virtanen nor his representatives have responded to the allegations.

'We'll be ready to go tonight'

Canucks head coach Travis Green declined comment on the situation ahead of Saturday night's game against the hometown Toronto Maple Leafs.

"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.

Green didn't say when he was made aware of the allegations, or whether Virtanen was still with the team in Toronto.

Virtanen, who hails from Langley, B.C., was drafted sixth overall by Vancouver in 2014. He has five points, all goals, in 38 games this season.

Virtanen signed a two-year, $5.1-million US extension with Vancouver in October.

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