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NHL Clears Ian Cole in Probe, Finds ‘No Evidence’

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Ian Cole investigation

The NHL announced it has found no evidence to connect former Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ian Cole to allegations of having had sex with a minor. Cole now plays for Tampa Bay Lightning, who are visiting the Penguins Saturday.

Cole was suspended (with pay) last week after an anonymous Twitter account accused him of “grooming” a high school student and another for sexual activity.

Through his agent, Cole immediately denied the allegations, which included accusations that unnamed teammates from an unidentified team knew of the activity and reached out to the victim.

The investigation of the allegations, which were made anonymously in a Twitter post on Oct. 7, was conducted by the League’s Security and Legal departments. Cole was interviewed twice.

Cole has played for the St. Louis Blues, Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, and Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay officials also released a statement:

Following an investigation by the National Hockey League into allegations that surfaced recently via social media, which included multiple interviews and attempts to contact the source of the post, Ian Cole has been cleared to return to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The organization takes these accusations very seriously and supports the conclusion from the NHL investigation. We look forward to Ian returning to the team and appreciate his full cooperation throughout the process of this investigation.”

Cole issued a statement through the team after the league made its announcement.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to respond to and refute the anonymous allegations made against me, which I categorically deny,” he said. “I’m looking forward to returning to the ice with my teammates and will have no further comments on this matter going forward.”

UPDATE: The NHLPA also released a statement about 90 minutes after the NHL release. The players union called the suspension “grossly unfair,” and asserted that players should not be subject to suspensions for unsubstantiated, anonymous allegations.

 

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Kristen Ross
Kristen Ross
1 month ago

Too bad the accusation was made and the investigation required. So happy for Ian Cole that it was quickly refuted!

Vince Gori
Vince Gori
1 month ago
Reply to  Kristen Ross

A bogus claim is slander and a crime in itself.

Pete
Pete
1 month ago

Shame on all of you for covering this so called “story”. Any idiot can say anything on twitter. You could get a minor to make the same allegation against you, Dan, or anyone.
An anonymous twitter allegation should simply be condemned and ignored. If someone has a legitimate case go to the police!

Pepper
Pepper
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete

Agreed. Time we all started ignoring the trash coming from Twitter. Less than 20% of this country is active on Twitter but media types act like it represents the population. And way beyond time that society realizes for every legit claim against a wealthy star, there are many more illegitimate claims from people looking for a quick buck. And way, way beyond time people started using logic again. If this had been a legit claim it would have gone to the police or a lawyer, not the cesspool known as Twitter. The saddest part is many people will only remember… Read more »

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

I love all these news sites utterly backtracking after Ian was cleared. But although it is a joy watching the vultures scamper, I can pretty much guarantee you that none of these scavengers would waste a second of their time personally apologizing for jumping on a story involving allegations like this. Especially with how this ‘controversy’ is now indelibly stapled to the story of his career.

Way to go.