Lightning suspend Ian Cole as defenseman faces accusations of sexual abuse, grooming woman when she was minor

The Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday suspended defenseman Ian Cole after he was accused on social media of grooming and sexually abusing a woman when she was a minor.

The Lightning mentioned the group was absolutely cooperating with the NHL in an investigation and is making the verdict to suspend Cole as it gathers extra main points.

“The Tampa Bay Lightning is aware of the allegations against player Ian Cole and are cooperating fully with the NHL on an investigation,” the Lightning mentioned in a commentary. “Our organization takes these allegations very seriously. While we continue to gather more details, we have decided to suspend Ian Cole pending the results of an investigation. No members of the organization, including players, will comment further at this time.”


Ian Cole of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates with the puck before a preseason game against the Florida Panthers at the FLA Live Arena Oct. 6, 2022, in Sunrise, Fla.

Ian Cole of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates with the puck earlier than a preseason sport towards the Florida Panthers on the FLA Live Arena Oct. 6, 2022, in Sunrise, Fla.
(Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

The allegations had been made on Twitter by way of a person known as Emily Smith. The Twitter person posted a long commentary. The tweet was despatched on Friday. The person handiest has one tweet at the account.

The commentary main points Smith’s alleged stumble upon with Cole when she was in highschool, and he have been “playing in the NHL for a few years at that point.” Smith wrote Cole was “very well aware” of how outdated she was and mentioned she felt stressed into having intercourse with him. The commentary main points instances when Cole allegedly made “derogatory and misogynistic comments.”

Smith claimed Cole “bragged” to at least one of his teammates about “sexually assaulting me as a minor the first night we first met.”

“Ian felt emboldened to emotionally and sexually abuse me and other women because the NHL fosters a culture of misogyny,” the commentary persisted. “The NHL needs to hold themselves and their players accountable for creating an enabling environment of misogynistic and predator behavior. Those who defend his character are the ones who have enabled him to do this for so long, and know very well of his abusive behavior toward women.

Florida Panthers center Eetu Luostarinen (27) works around Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ian Cole (28) during the third period of an NHL preseason game Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.

Florida Panthers middle Eetu Luostarinen (27) works round Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ian Cole (28) all through the 3rd duration of an NHL preseason sport Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.
(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)


“Anyone who truly knows Ian and the way he talks about women will not be surprised by any of this. Coming forward as a victim of grooming and abuse is extremely difficult. It’s easy to have shame and blame yourself, that you should’ve known better, but then I remember that I was taken advantage of as a minor by a fully grown adult man. As a teen, I didn’t even know what grooming was. When you’re young and this happens to you, you don’t realize you are a victim. 

“As I were given older and constructed self-worth, I began to totally perceive the level of what came about to me and that this is able to by no means were consensual. I don’t assume Ian ever anticipated me to have the braveness to talk out. It is painful to need to relive it, however I’m hoping that this encourages extra other people to talk out about their very own studies of grooming and abuse. And I’m in reality proud of myself that I’m in spite of everything ready to have the braveness to return ahead with the reality.”

Cole, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, played for the St. Louis Blues from 2010 to 2014, when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He played for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and Carolina Hurricanes before joining the Lightning in the offseason.

He’s won the Stanley Cup twice in his career.

The accuser didn’t specify when or where the alleged assaults took place.

Cole hasn’t responded to the allegations.

Nashville Predators defenseman Adam Wilsby (83) and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ian Cole (28) battle for position during an NHL preseason game Sept. 30, 2022, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Nashville Predators defenseman Adam Wilsby (83) and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ian Cole (28) fight for place all through an NHL preseason sport Sept. 30, 2022, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
(Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire by the use of Getty Images)


NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly instructed The Associated Press the league had introduced an investigation. Daly mentioned the league had no prior wisdom of the allegations till they surfaced on social media.

The Associated Press contributed to this record.

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