NHL Has a New Scandal to Contend With

Tampa Bay Lightning suspends Ian Cole after woman alleges he sexually abused her as a minor
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 10, 2022 7:38 AM CDT
NHL Player Suspended Amid Probe on Child Sexual Abuse
Florida Panthers center Eetu Luostarinen (27) works around Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ian Cole (28) during an NHL preseason hockey game on Saturday in Tampa, Fla.   (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The Tampa Bay Lightning suspended defenseman Ian Cole pending an investigation into allegations made on social media that he sexually abused a woman when she was a minor. The Lightning said Sunday night they were fully cooperating with the NHL on an investigation and were making the decision to suspend Cole until they gather more details. It's the latest off-ice scandal to rock hockey and bring the sport's culture into question. "Our organization takes these allegations very seriously," the team said in a statement, per the AP. "No members of the organization, including players, will comment further at this time." Cole, in a statement sent by agent Kevin Magnuson, said he completely denies the allegations and will cooperate with the league, team, and their legal departments in the forthcoming investigation.

"I take the allegations made against me today in an anonymous tweet very seriously," Cole said. "I look forward to clearing my name and demonstrating to the NHL and the Tampa Bay Lightning that these allegations are unfounded." NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said earlier Sunday the league had launched an investigation. Daly added the league had no prior knowledge of the allegations until they were posted on social media. Among the allegations posted anonymously to Twitter on Friday by an account created last month, the person said Cole pressured her into having sex multiple times when she was a minor after he'd reached the NHL. In the posting, the person accused Cole of emotional and sexual abuse and said the NHL must hold itself and its players accountable for creating an environment of misogynistic and predatory behavior.

The 33-year-old Cole made his NHL debut with St. Louis in 2010 and played five seasons for the Blues before being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He signed a $3 million, one-year contract with Tampa Bay in July. The investigation of Cole comes as the NHL is in the midst of reviewing allegations made by a woman who said she was sexually assaulted by eight members of Canada's world junior team at a gala in 2018. News surfaced earlier this year that Hockey Canada had settled a lawsuit with the woman. Several players from that team currently play in the NHL. Talking about the Hockey Canada situation, Commissioner Gary Bettman in July said he didn't think hockey has a culture problem. "I think there are problems that are experienced in all sports and throughout society that are unacceptable, and I don't think we're any different in that regard," Bettman said.

(More Tampa Bay Lightning stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.