Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, the top overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft, was arrested early Sunday morning in Buffalo, N.Y., and charged with robbery and other counts following an altercation with a cab driver in his hometown.
The 20-year-old Kane and his cousin, James M. Kane, 21, were taken into police custody at about 5 a.m. ET after allegedly punching the driver and taking $15 in fare they had given him after he said he didn't have 20 cents in change, a police report says. Police say the cousins apparently caught a cab from the city's downtown nightclub district at about 4 a.m. Sunday.
Buffalo police spokesman Michael DeGeorge says the cab driver suffered cuts to his face and his glasses were damaged after being struck in the face and head. Both Kanes were charged with felony robbery and misdemeanor counts of theft of services and criminal mischief.
WIVB-TV in Buffalo reported that an attorney for Kane has entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf in a city court. Second-degree robbery is a Class C felony. The fourth-degree criminal mischief and theft-of-services charges are both Class A misdemeanors.
A message left by The Associated Press at the home of 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 an attorney.
Kane's agent, Pat Brisson, declined to comment.
The Blackhawks are aware of the allegations against Kane, spokesman Brandon Faber said.
"He is a big part of our organization and a team leader and we stand behind him," Faber said. "As we are still collecting all the facts, it would be premature to comment further at this time."
Kane's arrest came only days after he took part in a ceremony announcing the funding of an ice rink in his native Buffalo, according to the Buffalo News.
On Thursday, Kane joined Mayor Byron W. Brown at Timothy J. Burvid Ice Rink in South Buffalo.
"Today is special for me," Kane said at the ceremony, according to the News. "This is where I grew up playing hockey. This is the first rink I probably skated in when I was 6 years old."
Brown referred to Kane and fellow NHL star and Buffalo native Tim Kennedy as "hometown heroes," the report said.
"I'll tell you one thing: It's a lot of fun playing in the NHL and playing on the ice and playoffs and certain things, and being part of an Original Six organization with the Blackhawks," Kane told a crowd during the event. "But to come back home and drive in the driveway for the first time for summer, and realize that you have a long time to hang out back home in Buffalo [is a great feeling].
"The best thing about it is my friends treat me like I'm a regular kid. They don't treat me like a celebrity or whatever they might treat me like in Chicago."
Kane has 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.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.