Kane court hearing set for Aug. 17

Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is scheduled to attend a court hearing next week to answer to charges he and his cousin beat up a cab driver in his hometown of Buffalo over the weekend.

Blackhawks forward, cousin accused of robbing, assaulting cab driver

Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane can expect a busy day on Aug. 17.

On the same day the 20-year-old forward is scheduled for a court hearing to answer to charges he and his cousin, James Kane, 21, beat up a cab driver in Buffalo, the United States Olympic men's team orientation camp opens in suburban Chicago.

USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer said Monday he expects Kane to participate in the three-day camp.

"We are aware of the incident," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Monday. "We don't condone or approve of what has been suggested the facts are. We are looking into it ourselves."

The Blackhawks' star garnered so much attention and popularity last season that EA Sports chose to feature him on the cover of its NHL 2010 video game, slated for release next month.

The Kanes were arrested around 5 a.m. Sunday after leaving the entertainment district in downtown Buffalo in a cab. They are accused of assaulting Jan Radecki, 60, and failing to pay their fare.

According to the Buffalo News, the fare was $13.80 US and the Kanes handed the driver $15.

After Radecki told them he didn't have 20 cents in coins to give them change, the Kanes allegedly punched him in the face and head, took the money they had given him and grabbed him by the throat, breaking his glasses.

Both men were charged with felony robbery and misdemeanour counts of theft and criminal mischief. Patrick Kane pleaded not guilty.

Radecki's lawyer, Andrew LoTempio, said the charges would "absolutely not" reach the level of a felony, calling it a "regular kid incident."

"I think we should be able to work things out with [Patrick] Kane," he said.

LoTempio, who appeared on Buffalo radio station WGN-AM 720 Monday morning, attempted to downplay the incident.

"It's pretty much blown out of proportion," he said. "It's a dispute over the cab fee and unfortunately Mr. Radecki didn't recognize Mr. Kane and just thought they were a couple of college kids.

"Some of the cab drivers here have a policy of not unlocking the doors until they get paid because they get beat on their fees by the college kids and that just kind of blew up."

Kane's agent, Pat Brisson, said Kane has retained Paul Cambria as his attorney.

"Cambria has told me that, based on the evidence that he has reviewed in this case, there is no doubt that Mr. Kane will be fully exonerated.

"Since this is an ongoing legal matter, I think it is inappropriate for me to comment further at this time. But I am absolutely confident that, when the legal process has been completed, Pat Kane will be fully cleared."

With files from The Associated Press