Former Canuck Jake Virtanen axed from Swiss team on eve of playoffs
A Swiss League teammate reportedly gave club management an ultimatum after he and Virtanen were involved in on altercation on the bench.
On the eve of the playoffs, former NHLer Jake Virtanen was reportedly dismissed by his Swiss League club following an altercation with a teammate, along with behaviour detrimental to the team.
According to a report from Swiss newspaper Le Matin, Virtanen’s Swiss club EHC Visp dropped the former Vancouver Canucks first-rounder after he got into it on the bench with teammate Daniel Eigenmann near the end of a 5-1 loss last month. Notably, Virtanen had been benched earlier in the game and has since been scratched for Visp’s last two matches.
Following the dust-up, Eigenmann allegedly issued an ultimatum to management on behalf of his teammates, supposedly stating that it was either "him, or us."
Per Le Matin, Virtanen had grown increasingly unpopular amongst his peers, with the article claiming he "turned his back on his teammates." An unnamed individual familiar with Virtanen's time in the Swiss league reported selfish on-ice behaviour, such as remaining out for extra time with the man-advantage.
The fact that EHC Visp chose to dump Virtanen given his success speaks volumes about the alleged conduct of the 26-year-old. Virtanen’s 15 goals this season are third on his team, despite having played 20 less games than the two players ahead of him.
His days as a highly-touted prospect long in the rearview mirror, Virtanen’s career has gone sideways since 2021. After multiple years of lacklustre production with the Canucks, the 2014 sixth overall selection was bought out in the summer of 2021 in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations.
After a brief stop in the KHL with Spartak Moscow during the 2021-22 season — ultimately interrupted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February — Virtanen returned home to British Columbia. Later that summer, he stood trial for those allegations and was found not guilty by the province’s supreme court. Virtanen then briefly returned to the NHL this past preseason with the Edmonton Oilers on a professional try-out, but the winger failed to earn a contract after five preseason games.
According to an article from The Province, Visp management has not commented on either the altercation or the reported ultimatum from Eigenmann and his team. The club has, however, acknowledged their aims to move on from the allegedly cantankerous Virtanen.
In 317 NHL games spread across six seasons, Virtanen had 55 goals and 45 assists.
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