SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Police in Arizona say Calgary Flames forward Brett Sutter was drunk to the point of slurring his words when he randomly punched a cab driver in the face outside a bar early Thursday morning.
According to a report posted on the Scottsdale police website, the 23-year-old, who is the son of Flames general manager Darryl Sutter and nephew of Calgary coach Brent Sutter, told police he was out on the town “celebrating his rookie game.”
Police say Sutter was being bounced from the American Junkie bar at around closing time for being “disorderly and extremely intoxicated” when he hit the cabbie in the mouth with a closed fist.
The 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 eventually tackled by the bouncers, the report says, and then officers on foot patrol arrived to take him into custody.
“As I helped Mr. Sutter walk to the police car, he kept mumbling that this was his rookie game and that he didn’t do anything,” wrote the arresting officer. “I advised Mr. Sutter that I had no idea what he was talking about and he kept stating that he was celebrating his rookie game.”
Later, when they got to the jail, the officer said he had to help Sutter walk to the door because he was so drunk.
“Mr. Sutter had somewhat calmed down and was apologizing for acting the way he did,” the officer wrote. “I asked Mr. Sutter what he meant by rookie game and he stated that he played hockey for the Calgary Flames and that he was a rookie.”
Sutter has actually played a total of 18 games for the Flames since 2008-2009. He has played in four games this year and has one assist.
Once in a cell, Sutter fell asleep.
He was charged with misdemeanour assault and was eventually released on bond to a friend. The name of the friend is blacked out in the report.
The Flames were in Arizona for a game against Phoenix on Friday night.
The team posted a brief statement on its website.
“We were immediately made aware of the incident by the individual involved and are in the process of gathering more information to have a full and clear understanding,” it said.
“All appropriate people have been notified. However, due to the routine police process required, we are unable to comment any further at this time.”
Sutter is not the first NHLer to have a run-in with a cab driver.
In August 2009 Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane and his cousin where charged after a cabbie was roughed up in a dispute over 20 cents in change. Kane pleaded guilty to a non-criminal charge of disorderly conduct and was ordered to send an apology to the cab driver.
Sutter is also not the first NHLer to have a run-in with Scottsdale police.Edmonton Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin was convicted there of drunk driving and excessive speeding earlier this year. The 37-year-old Russian received a minimum 30-day sentence, but the case is under appeal.