Oilers were wrong to give Virtanen a look: Sexual Assault Centre Edmonton

Two months after being legally cleared of sexual assault allegations, Jake Virtanen is getting another shot in the NHL. The move by the Edmonton Oilers is being heavily criticized as this is the second time this year that the franchise has brought in a player with a troubling history with women.

By Elliott Knopp

The executive director of a sexual assault centre in Edmonton says the Oilers organization deserves any backlash that comes with signing Jake Virtanen to a professional tryout agreement.

The move comes agreement two months after the former Vancouver Canucks forward was found not guilty of sexual assault.

Virtanen was charged in January in connection with an incident in a downtown Vancouver hotel room in September 2017.

The CEO of Sexual Assault Centre Edmonton says it was not the right call on the team’s part, and she’s questioning the team’s integrity.

“They’re being crucified in the media, and they deserve to be crucified in the media,” said Mary Jane James. “When are they going to stand up and be a part of cultural change within this sport and all sports?”

Less than a year ago, the Oilers signed Evander Kane after his contract was terminated by the San Jose Shark due to unproven accusation he had abused his ex-wife.

A CityNews social media poll with 814 vote had 80 per cent of respondents saying they were against giving Virtanen a professional tryout.

“Fans could speak with their wallets as well, if they wanted to – they’re not going to,” said James. “We want the Oilers to win. We are a hockey city. They’re an amazing group of individuals for the most part. I just don’t think that they made the right choice in this situation.”

For his part, Virtanen addressed the allegations in a media conference, saying he’s ready to put the situation behind him and is grateful to have a second chance.

“Going through something like that, you go through a lot of ups and downs, and you learn a lot about yourself and who you are as a person,” he said. “You do a lot of self-reflection on who you are, you know your self-worth, and you know, it was a long process and I thought that by the end of it, you know I’m very happy and very grateful that I did it the right way.”

Virtanen hasn’t received an offer from the team.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today