Lightning reinstate Ian Cole after NHL finds no evidence to substantiate sexual abuse allegations

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The NHL stated Saturday it discovered no evidence to substantiate nameless allegations posted on social media towards Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Ian Cole and has concluded its investigation.

The league stated it was unable to make contact with the nameless supply of the Oct. 7 social media put up within the investigation carried out by its Security and Legal departments.

“I’m grateful for the chance to reply to and refute the nameless allegations made towards me, which I categorically deny,” Cole stated in an announcement launched by the staff in asserting his reinstatement. “I’m wanting ahead to returning to the ice with my teammates and could have no additional feedback on this matter going ahead.”

The Lightning suspended Cole on Oct. 9 pending the investigation into the allegations that he sexually abused a lady when she was a minor.

Among the allegations posted anonymously to Twitter by an account created final month, the individual stated Cole pressured her into having intercourse a number of occasions when she was a minor after he had reached the NHL. In the posting, the individual accused Cole of emotional and sexual abuse.

The NHL stated the investigation included two separate interviews with Cole in addition to interviews with NHL membership personnel and different people with doubtlessly related data. It added it additionally included an in depth assessment of on-line and social media, public information, and court docket data and regulation enforcement checks.

“The group takes these accusations very critically and helps the conclusion from the NHL investigation,” the Lightning stated in an announcement. “We look ahead to Ian returning to the staff and recognize his full cooperation all through the method of this investigation.”

Cole, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, has performed 670 regular-season video games with St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Colorado, Minnesota and Carolina. The 33-year-old former Notre Dame participant signed a $3 million US, one-year contract with Tampa Bay in July.

NHLPA assertion

The National Hockey League Players’ Association additionally issued an announcement.

“We are happy that the state of affairs with Ian Cole is now resolved and that the NHL has closed the matter,” the NHLPA stated. “However, gamers ought to by no means be topic to suspension or self-discipline in response to unsubstantiated and nameless accusations. Removing a participant from his staff beneath these circumstances is inappropriate and grossly unfair. We are partaking the League in discussions on how to handle related conditions sooner or later.”

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