Lightning suspend Ian Cole pending investigation into sexual abuse allegations

The Lightning have suspended defenseman Ian Cole pending the result of a league investigation into accusations of sexual abuse.

The NHL is having a look into allegations posted on social media Friday from a lady who claims that Cole, a 13-year NHL veteran, had a sexual dating along with her that started when she used to be a minor, “and he had been playing in the NHL for a few years at that point.” She says Cole groomed her over a four-year stretch.

“We are aware of the allegations posted on social media,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly mentioned Sunday. “We are looking into it.”

The Lightning mentioned in a commentary that they’re going to cooperate absolutely with the league.

“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.”

The accuser, who says in her commentary on Twitter that she is talking out anonymously beneath the @emily_smith3333 care for, main points assembly Cole whilst she used to be a minor and in highschool and being careworn via him to have intercourse, together with conferences at Cole’s group lodge. “On a few occasions, he would ask me to bring other girls from my high school with me, which I refused to do,” she says.

She alleges that Cole manipulated her, boasting about having intercourse with different ladies, and he or she says as soon as she were given to university, she discovered Cole had intercourse with some other top school-aged minor. The accuser mentioned that one in all Cole’s former NHL teammates informed her how Cole bragged to his teammates about about having intercourse along with her the night time they met, sharing main points that best she and Cole would have recognized.

“Ian felt emboldened to emotionally and sexually abuse me because the NHL fosters a culture of misogyny,” the accuser mentioned in her tweet. “The NHL needs to hold themselves and their players accountable for creating an enabling environment of misogynistic and predatory behavior.”

Cole, 33, joined the Lightning in July, when he signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal to lend a hand supply a veteran presence to a rebuilt defenseman corps following the business of defenseman Ryan McDonagh. He figured to play a big position at the blue line as a left-shot defenseman and a penalty killer. On Saturday, within the group’s ultimate preseason recreation, Cole logged 20:32 mins of ice time.

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Cole’s suspension (with pay) signifies that newcomer Haydn Fleury will most likely sign up for the Lightning’s opening night time lineup because the group’s 3rd left-shot defenseman at the back of Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev. Without Cole, the Lightning have simply six defensemen at the energetic roster, however may just upload left-shot defenseman Sean Day or right-shot rookie defensemen Nick Perbix or Darren Raddysh for intensity.

The accusations in opposition to Cole constitute the most recent black eye for the game, which is reeling from a large number of sexual abuse claims. Nearly a 12 months in the past, former Blackhawks participant Kyle Beach got here ahead because the participant who sued the franchise for mishandling his allegations that he used to be sexually abused via a former video trainer. The case used to be settled out of court docket.

Hockey Canada has come beneath hearth after it used to be printed in May that the group reached a agreement with a lady who mentioned she used to be sexually assaulted via 8 gamers, together with participants of Canada’s global junior group, in 2018. A sexual attack case involving participants of the 2003 global junior group got here to gentle in July.

Before signing with Tampa Bay, Cole performed with six different groups (Blues, Penguins, Blue Jackets, Avalanche, Wild, Hurricanes), together with his most up-to-date stint in Carolina. He used to be a member of the Pittsburgh group that gained back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017.

The Lightning had been off Sunday and observe Monday morning at Amalie Arena earlier than touring to New York for his or her nationally-televised season opener in opposition to the New York Rangers on Tuesday night time at Madison Square Garden.

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