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Michigan native, NHL player Ian Cole suspended after accusation of sexual abuse, grooming a minor

Editor's note: This story was updated at 8:17 p.m. to include the Lightning's suspension announcement.

The National Hockey League is looking into a woman's accusation that NHL player Ian Cole groomed and sexually abused her when she was a minor.

Twitter user Emily_Smith3333 posted a message on Twitter on Friday, accusing Cole, a native of Ann Arbor and former member on the U.S. National Team Development Program, of assaulting her when she was in high school. The tweet is the only one by the account, which was created in September.

On Sunday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning announced that Cole has been suspended pending the results of an NHL-led investigation.

The accuser said that for four years, Cole groomed her, and that their first sexual encounter happened when she was a minor and Cole had been in the NHL a few years. She also said she did not want to have sex but that she was pressured into it.

Cole, 33, played for the USNTDP, then headquartered in Ann Arbor, from 2005-07 and at Notre Dame from 2007-10. He was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in 2007 but did not play in the NHL until the 2010-11 season. He has played for seven teams since then and signed a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning this summer.

According to The Athletic's Katie Strang, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league is aware of the accusations and is looking deeper into them.

The Lightning issued this statement on Sunday night:

"The Tampa Bay Lightning is aware of the allegations against player Ian Cole and are cooperating fully with the NHL on an investigation. Our organization takes these allegations very seriously. While we continue to gather more details, we have decided to suspend Ian Cole pending the results of an investigation. No members of the organization, including players, will comment further at this time."

Tampa Bay opens the regular season on Tuesday.

It is not clear from the original post when or where the assaults took place. The message includes tags of the NHL's and the Lightning organization's Twitter accounts.

The accuser said Cole made "derogatory misogynistic comments" and used texts from other women to manipulate her thinking toward their relationship. She also said that years after the first assault, one of Cole's teammates said Cole bragged to teammates about having sex with her.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: NHL player Ian Cole suspended, accused of sexual abuse, grooming