CHICAGO Patrick Kane, the star winger for the Chicago Blackhawks, was arrested on Sunday and charged with robbing a cab driver in Buffalo, New York, according to Buffalo police.
Kane, 20, and his cousin, James Kane, 21, were charged with second-degree robbery, fourth-degree criminal mischief and theft of services for allegedly assaulting a cab driver and taking back money after a dispute over the fare, police said.
The cab driver suffered cuts to his face, and his eyeglasses were damaged after apparently being punched in the face and head in the incident, which occurred at about 4 a.m. (0800 GST) Sunday, said police spokesman Michael DeGeorge.
Local media reported that the Kanes paid the driver $15 for a $13.80 fare and were angered when the driver did not have proper change.
They were arrested after leaving Chippewa Street, an area in Buffalo known for its nightlife.
"We are aware of the allegations toward Patrick Kane. He is a big part of our organization and a team leader and we stand behind him," the Blackhawks said in a statement. The team said it was premature to comment further because it was still collecting the facts.
Local press reported that Patrick Kane, who was born in Buffalo, entered a not guilty plea through his attorney in court Sunday morning.
Kane was the first overall pick in the 2007 National Hockey League draft. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded to the league's best rookie, in the 2007-2008 season.
In the 2008-2009 regular season Kane had 25 goals and 45 assists in 80 games for the Blackhawks. He tallied an additional nine goals and five assists in 16 playoff games for the team.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman and Carey Gillam; Editing by Paul Simao)