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.
Can we talk about Jake Virtanen shading Brendan Leipsic?— Leah Kessel (@leahflame) July 1, 2020
Oh my god. pic.twitter.com/l014lsN2NO
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."
NHL: “We have complete confidence that our players will stay safe and in their bubble and the season can resume”— acab markstrom (@failsonmcdonald) July 1, 2020
Jake Virtanen: *posts Instagram video of himself drunkenly puking in the Jungle Golf dinosaur at Castle Fun Park*
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.
Jake Virtanen wants to play hockey and party. He's 23. He scored 18 goals last season. If the place was open, it's because Dr. Bonnie Henry said so. Calm yourselves.— @TheDiscoStu (@TheDiscoStu) July 2, 2020
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).
Man do people in this market love to hate on Jake Virtanen.— Steve Boddy (@Boddy604) July 1, 2020
You guys really think all these guys are just sitting at home before they have to go into full lockdown for 2 or 3 months?
Come the fuck on.
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.
On the video circulating of Jake Virtanen at Celebrities, been told the Canucks ‘addressed it’ with him, but details of this discussion being kept private.— Patrick Johnston (@risingaction) July 1, 2020
Also notable: Virtanen has not skated at Rogers as of yet and so isn’t yet covered by phase two test protocol.
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.
In fairness to Jake he did just find out he is heading to Edmonton for at least a couple weeks— phil verret (@BasketballPhil) July 1, 2020
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.
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