Patrick Kane addressed the ongoing sexual assault investigation against him for the first time Thursday as he reported to Blackhawks training camp, saying that he was confident of “having done nothing wrong.”
Kane, 26, read an opening statement before fielding questions from media. He had not spoken publicly since an investigation began in Hamburg, N.Y., surrounding his alleged sexual assault.
Allegations that Kane sexually assaulted his accuser at his home on Aug. 2 first became public last month. Although he has not been charged with any offense, reports have suggested either the Blackhawks or the NHL could suspend him for violating the league’s personal conduct clause. Prosecutors will take the criminal case to a grand jury later this month, reports the Chicago Tribune.
“This has been incredibly difficult for many people,” Kane said. “I cannot apologize enough for the distraction this has caused my family, my team. While I have too much respect for the legal process to comment on an ongoing matter. I am confident that when all the facts come to light, I will be absolved.”
“The Chicago Blackhawks organization prides itself on making calculated and careful decisions based on the information we have at the present time,” Blackhawks president John McDonough said. “We realize Patrick Kane is dealing with a very serious situation...Furthermore, we have the utmost respect for the legal process and will have no further comment on this issue at this time.”
The Blackhawks asked that he only answer hockey questions, and Kane avoided answering anything related to the case. He said he had received support from his teammates and the organization.
“I know there's a lot of different things, questions you guys have, but I have to stay confident in myself and the legal process,” Kane said. He told reporters he felt bad he was unable to comment on questions.
McDonough, general manager Stan Bowman and head coach Joel Quenneville also chose not to answer questions regarding Kane.
“We take a lot of time to weigh these decisions,” McDonough said. “A lot of people weigh in on those decisions. For me to expound on anything at this point really wouldn't be appropriate.” McDonough also said reports he had a “volcanic” reaction to Kane's situation were a “complete fabrication.”
“We had conversations with Patrick's legal representatives," McDonough said. “I do not know who else they have been in contact with. I imagine it has been thorough and comprehensive.”
“This hasn't been an easy situation for any of us to deal with,” he added. “It's been a challenging summer, this has weighed on all of us. We're doing the best we can in the framework of what we can talk about today.”
- Jeremy Woo and Mike Fiammetta