The Vancouver Police Department announced on Thursday that former Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen has been charged with one count of sexual assault.
The charge comes after an investigation into an incident that occurred in Vancouver on Sept. 26, 2017 while Virtanen was still a member of the Canucks.
The investigation was launched last May when the alleged victim, who is now 23, came forward with a complaint.
Virtanen, 25. was placed on leave by the Canucks following the allegation and did not play for the team again. The Canucks released a full statement on Thursday in response to the charges:
"We have been made aware of the charges laid by the Crown against Jake Virtanen. When the allegations first came to our attention, we immediately placed Jake Virtanen on leave. He is no longer a member of the organization.
We have been in contact with the Vancouver Police Department throughout their investigation and will continue to provide support as needed. Our organization is committed to fostering a safe and welcoming environment and will not tolerate sexual misconduct of any kind. We will not be commenting further on this matter."
Virtanen's agent Kevin Epp also put out a statement regarding the charges on Thursday.
"As we have previously stated, Mr. Virtanen denies the allegations of non-consensual sexual contact with the complainant," it read. "He has filed a response to the complainant’s civil lawsuit. He has sent police a statement, denying the allegations. He took a polygraph examination and provided that report to the police.
"Mr. Virtanen continues to maintain his innocence and looks forward to defending himself at trial. Until such time, we do not intend to make any further public statements."
A native of New Westminster, BC, Virtanen was the sixth overall selection in the 2014 NHL Draft.
He appeared in 317 games over six seasons with the Canucks scoring 55 goals and 110 points. Virtanen currently plays for Spartak Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League, joining the team last September upon the expiration of his NHL contract.
Vancouver PD says Virtanen is not currently in custody.