(CBS) At the center of a sexual assault investigation, Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane maintained his innocence Thursday in his first public comments since the case came to light.
“I’m confident that once all the facts are brought to light, I will be absolved of (wrongdoing),” Kane said at a press conference on the campus of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind, where the Blackhawks open camp Friday morning.
Kane was flanked at the press conference by team president John McDonough, general manager Stan Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville. He took questions but didn’t comment on any more specifics on the case.
The Blackhawks consulted with Kane’s legal representatives and based on those discussions, “We decided to have Patrick join us for training camp,” McDonough said.
“I’m happy to be here at camp,” Kane said.
Kane did apologize to those closest to him. At no point did he make any reference to the woman who has accused him of rape.
“This has been an incredibly difficult time for many people,” Kane said, initially reading from a statement. “I cannot apologize enough for the distraction this has caused for my family, my teammates, this incredible organization and, of course, the fans,” Kane said.
Kane, 26, hasn’t been charged in the sexual assault case in western New York as officials with the Hamburg police and the Erie County District Attorney’s Office continue to investigate the events surrounding the early morning hours of Aug. 2, when Kane returned to his Hamburg home with a friend, the alleged victim and one of her friends after a night out at the bar. A grand jury is expected to be presented evidence in the coming weeks, according to reports.
When asked if he has considered giving up alcohol after the latest incident, Kane declined to address it.
Asked how the team will be affected by the Kane situation, Quenneville said, “We’ll be fine.”
Asked about the message it sends to people to have Kane at camp amid such a serious allegation of wrondoing, McDonough defended himself and the organization.
“I can assure you I’m anything but tone deaf,” McDonough said.
Kane has stayed out the public spotlight since the news broke, but he said he’s been working out in the basement of his home to stay in shape.