The Tampa Bay Lightning has opted to suspend defense Ian Cole late Sunday as they investigate allegations of sexual abuse. Cole is entering his 13th season in the NHL and is under a 1-year free-agent deal worth $3M in the offseason and should have taken the starting lineup this week. But that will not be happening pending the results of an investigation.
The allegations came last Friday on Twitter as an anonymous user posted that Cole had groomed her for four years, and it all began when she was “a minor in high school.”
The user explained that Cole was “well aware” of her age at the time. The Twitter post did not provide many details about where or when the alleged abuse occurred.
The Lightning said in a statement over the weekend that they are aware of the allegations and will cooperate with the NHL on an investigation. The statement reads in part, “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.”
Cole released a statement through his agent Kevin Magnuson denying the allegations “completely.” The statement reads, “I take the allegations made against me today in an anonymous tweet very seriously. I look forward to clearing my name and demonstrating to the NHL and the Tampa Bay Lightning that these allegations are unfounded.”