CALGARY – Calgary Flames forward Brett Sutter has apologized to his family and fans of the NHL team for an incident last week where he’s alleged to have punched a cab driver in the face outside a Scottsdale, Ariz., bar.
His apology came Monday, the same day the Flames demoted him to the Abbotsford Heat, their American Hockey League farm team.
“I want to apologize to my family, my friends, our fans and the entire Flames family for what took place this past Wednesday night,” Sutter said in a statement released by the Flames.
“My background is one of hard work and respect so this incident is totally out of character for me. I have been a captain in junior hockey and an assistant captain last year in Abbotsford so I totally understand the values of leadership and character. I have set the wrong example not only for children who love the Flames and hockey, but also for my brother who has been such a great example for me.”
Sutter is the son of Flames general manager Darryl Sutter and nephew of Calgary coach Brent Sutter. His younger brother Christopher has Down syndrome.
Flames captain Jarome Iginla said Brett Sutter has the team’s support.
“He has always demonstrated a tremendous commitment to being a good person and a professional athlete in every aspect of the responsibilities that go with that role,” Iginla said in a statement.
“As his teammates we have conveyed our total support for him and I believe it is important that we also let our community and fans know the same.”
Police in Arizona say the 23-year-old Sutter was drunk to the point of slurring his words when he randomly punched a cab driver in the face outside a bar.
He had been thrown out of the bar for being “disorderly and extremely intoxicated” when he hit the cabbie in the mouth with a closed fist, police say.
Bar bouncers, witnesses and the cabbie all told police the incident was completely unprovoked and Sutter kept walking like nothing had happened.
The cabbie suffered a cut to the inside of his mouth and was spitting blood, but did not lose any teeth.
Sutter was charged with misdemeanour assault.
In four games with the Flames this year Sutter has one assist. In 66 games with Abbotsford last year he had nine goals and 15 assists.