Former Canucks player Jake Virtanen, as he enters the Vancouver courthouse, July 18, 2022.
The trial of former Canucks player Jake Virtanen opened Monday in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver with the testimony of the plaintiff, MS, who alleges she was sexually assaulted by the hockey player in 2017 .
The 25-year-old Abbotsford native was criminally charged in January following an investigation by the Vancouver Police Department (VPD).
The 23-year-old told the court that the incident allegedly occurred on September 26, 2017, in a hotel room at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver, while Jake Virtanen played for the National Hockey League (NHL).
MS, whose identity is protected by court order, testified that she told him several times that she did not want to have sex with him.
The VPD launched the investigation in May 2021, after the complainant filed a civil lawsuit. The Canucks suspended Jake Virtanen shortly after the allegations became public, and bought out his contract the following month.
The youngster is not being detained pending proceedings and he played for Spartak Moscow of the Continental Hockey League last season.
At the time of the alleged assault, he was 21 years old and MS was 18 years old. The latter, from a small town in the interior of British Columbia, said she met the player at the Calgary Stampede.
Jake Virtanen was waived suspended from the Canucks when the allegations became public, in 2021.
The trial, which is being heard by jury , should last about a week. The plaintiff is scheduled to be cross-examined by defense counsel on Tuesday.
Jake Virtanen denied the allegations in a response to the civil suit filed in court in 2021.
With information from The Canadian Press and Karin Larsen