jake virtanen video

NHL player takes heat after partying without a mask on

NHL player Jake Virtanen is under fire after a video of him partying it up at a Vancouver nightclub made the rounds on social media on Wednesday, prompting widespread backlash.

In the now-deleted video, Virtanen is seen at Celebrities Nightclub, one of the many clubs that has reopened in Vancouver following the lockdown.

The Vancouver Canucks forward was allegedly not following social distancing protocols or wearing a mask.

Eagle-eyed fans also noticed that Virtanen wore a hat in the video that seemed to reference his publicized feud with former Canuck player Brendan Leipsic.

Some Canadians were appalled by Virtanen's appearance at a downtown nightclub, with a few even calling for the Vancouver Canucks to take disciplinary action.

"That has to be over strike three for Jake," one person wrote. "As a fan I am furious that he would jeopardize the Canucks chances in the playoffs and risk taking the Canuck fans down with him. Suspend indefinitely. We need mature young men in the dressing room."

"Virtanen has a lot of growing up to do," another person wrote. "If the Canucks suspend Virtanen for the 'playoffs,' I won't be mad."

Other Canadians hopped to Virtanen's defence, pointing out that Celebrities Nightclub has a number of safety protocols in place, including a maximum of six people at a table and hand sanitizer stations.

The nightclub also doesn't require guests to wear masks.

Other people pointed out that Virtanen has yet to enter Phase 2 of the NHL's return-to-play plan, in which players participate in small-group individualized training activities (on-ice and off-ice).

The Canucks told NEWS 1130 in a statement that the situation has been "addressed internally."

"Jake is not yet in phase 2 of the NHL's return to play plan, nor is he in quarantine. He'll be tested before he re-joins the team for any training," the statement reads.

Virtanen's controversial visit comes just a few days before the news broke that Edmonton and Toronto have been chosen as the NHL hub cities for the 2020 Stanley Cup finals.

Currently, 26 NHL players have tested positive for COVID-19 since Phase 2 of its return-to-play protocol began on June 8.

The NHL will continue to perform daily symptom and temperature checks while players participate in training camps.

Virtanen has yet to publicly comment on the video.

Lead photo by

Leah Kessel

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