BUFFALO, N.Y. – Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane was charged with attacking a cab driver in his home town Sunday, a beating police said was triggered when the driver did not have 20 cents in change to give the player and his cousin.
Buffalo police said the 20-year-old Kane and his 21-year-old cousin, James Kane, had apparently caught a cab from the city’s downtown nightclub district at about 4 a.m. ET. The cab driver suffered cuts to his face and his glasses were damaged, police spokesman Michael DeGeorge said.
Both men were charged with felony robbery and misdemeanour counts of theft of services and criminal mischief. Patrick Kane, who earned US$875,000 last season, pleaded not guilty in local court Sunday, WIVB-TV reported. It was not immediately clear when James Kane will appear in court.
The driver said he was punched and hit by both men because he did not have 20 cents in change to give them, according to the police report.
A message left at the home of Patrick Kane’s parents was not immediately returned Sunday afternoon. Relatives who answered his grandfather’s phone and his mother’s cell phone declined to comment and could not say whether either Kane had a lawyer.
A Blackhawks spokesman said the team is aware of the allegations against Kane.
“He is a big part of our organization and a team leader and we stand behind him,” spokesman Brandon Faber said. “As we are still collecting all the facts, it would be premature to comment further at this time.”
On Thursday, Patrick Kane was at a Buffalo ice rink where he played hockey as a child to help Mayor Byron Brown announce funding for improvements.
He said at the time he was happy to have time “to hang out back home in Buffalo.”
“The best thing about it is my friends treat me like I’m a regular kid,” said Kane, the first overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft. “They don’t treat me like a celebrity or whatever they might treat me like in Chicago.”
Kane played his first two NHL seasons with the Blackhawks and had 46 goals and 96 assists. He won the Calder Trophy, given to the league’s best rookie, in 2008.