Flames' Sutter apologizes, sent to minors
Faces assault charge in Arizona
Calgary Flames forward Brett Sutter has been reassigned to the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League after being charged with assault in the United States.
Sutter made headlines last week when he was arrested for punching a cab driver outside a Scottsdale, Ariz., bar.
Police in Arizona said the 23-year-old Sutter was drunk to the point of slurring his words when he randomly punched the man in the face.
The son of Flames general manager Darryl Sutter issued an apology Monday through the team.
"I want to apologize to my family, my friends, our fans and the entire Flames family for what took place this past Wednesday night," Sutter is quoted as saying. "My background is one of hard work and respect, so this incident is totally out of character for me."
The man wasn't seriously injured, police said, but wished to press charges for assault.
Sutter was released on bond about an hour after his arrest.
'Wrong example' for kids, brother
"I have set the wrong example, not only for children who love the Flames and hockey but also for my brother, who has been such a great example for me," Sutter's statement said.
Sutter's younger brother, Christopher, has Down syndrome.
Police said Sutter had been thrown out of the bar for being "disorderly and extremely intoxicated" when he hit the cabbie in the mouth with a closed fist.
Bar bouncers, witnesses and the cabbie told police the incident was completely unprovoked and that afterward, 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.
The Flames had been practising in Scottsdale as they prepared for Friday's game in Glendale against the Phoenix Coyotes, which they lost.
The Flames also issued a statement on Monday from captain Jarome Iginla, who said Sutter's teammates totally support the young player.
"He has always demonstrated a tremendous commitment to being a good person and a professional athlete in every aspect of the responsibilities that go with that role," Iginla said.
In four games with the Flames this season, the Viking, Alta.-born Sutter picked up his first NHL assist.
With files from The Canadian Press