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Holland defends decision to invite Virtanen to Edmonton Oilers camp

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Ken Holland has revealed that he will not allow a court of public opinion to overturn a court.

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In explaining his reasons for inviting Jake Virtanen to training camp, the Edmonton Oilers general manager said it boils down to trusting the legal system.

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If a 12-man jury in British Columbia hears all the evidence and finds Virtanen not guilty of sexual assault, Holland asks why 26-year-old ex-Vancouver Canuck shouldn’t be free to pursue a career. do not understand

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“Most importantly, he went to court and the judge and jury found him not guilty,” Holland said.

“The biggest thing for me is trusting the legal system.

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Virtanen was charged with sexual assault in January this year in connection with an incident in a downtown Vancouver hotel room in September 2017. He said he was 21 and the accuser said he was 18.

After a week of testimony, the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled in Virtanen’s favor.

There are still civil lawsuits pending.

If the criminal case had not been tried and resolved, Holland says he would not have had this conversation.

“If he hadn’t gone to court, he wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t be there,” he said. “It went before the legal system. A judge and jury heard both sides of the case and ruled him not guilty.

“In my opinion, the legal system has led me to offer him a professional tryout.”

Evander Kane came to Edmonton last season in a similar situation — shrouded in rumors and allegations, battling to stay in the NHL — and now he’s central to the team on a newly signed four-year contract. have become a member.

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“Every situation is different,” he said. “I don’t know much about him. I know he won in court.”

Kane’s only advice to everyone is to keep quiet until you know all the facts.

“There are so many things that people want to speculate about, pretend to know, pretend to have insight when they’re dealing with difficult situations,” Kane said. is BS, but it’s interesting how attitudes and perspectives change as time and things unfold.

Kane has a lot of fans in Edmonton, but not everyone is happy he’s here.

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“Everyone has their own opinion and not 100% of people will like you. I can donate $5 million to charity today. That’s exactly how social media works.” is.

“When it comes to Jake, he knows what he did and didn’t do. It’s left for him to deal with.”

Virtanen is not yet an Oiler, so the discussion at this point is academic. In fact, he is far from it. He had a tough season two years ago in Vancouver (38 games in which he scored 5) and had mediocre numbers in Russia last year (36 in which he scored 16), but finds takers in the NHL. I couldn’t.

Unless he can find another piece of gear in the next few months, it will be difficult for him to build a team.

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“I brought him in to watch him play and see where his game was,” Holland said. “I’ve never seen him play live, except for a few times in Vancouver two years ago. He has only a short amount of time to try and impress.”

The Oilers need Virtanen to be a physically and defensively sound third or fourth liner who can provide a few second-scoring runs. Expect to see him in his eight preseason games in Edmonton while management studies his game.

“If he comes here and doesn’t check, doesn’t show physicality, if he doesn’t score, if it’s not enough to offer him a deal, we’ll let him go,” Holland said.

“But if he could come and provide one or two of those dimensions…”

At that time, a larger discussion will take place as to whether or not to include him in the team or community. An unpleasant situation on all fronts. It’s not fair for people to ignore legal judgments and declare people guilty, especially when they haven’t heard the evidence, but it’s simplistic to think that innocence always means innocence.

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“Over the next two weeks, we’ll be evaluating whether he’s someone we’re interested in getting from a hockey perspective,” Holland said.

“If he thinks he’s someone who can make us better and deeper, then I’m going to look deeper into[moral issues]. This is a step on the way.”

“I talk to a lot of people about it. will talk to other people in our organization and we will decide in the next couple of weeks whether to offer him a contract.”

rtychkowski@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/rob_tychkowski

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Holland defends decision to invite Virtanen to Edmonton Oilers camp

Source link Holland defends decision to invite Virtanen to Edmonton Oilers camp

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