NEWARK, N.J. – On Thursday the official announcement came, the Erie County District Attorney stating that Patrick Kane would not face criminal charges after a three-month-long rape investigation.
On Friday there was relief, in a way, for the Blackhawks right wing.
“I think I’m more happy for my family and supporters than anyone,” Kane said.
Frank Sedita III released a statement on the Erie County D.A.’s website on Thursday, stating that, “the totality of credible evidence – the proof – does not sufficiently substantiate the complainant’s allegation that she was raped by Patrick Kane.” Kane said repeatedly throughout the investigation that he had done nothing wrong, and that was repeated in his statement on Thursday.
On Friday morning, Kane didn’t want to talk about how difficult the last few months have been. He did talk, however, about trying to return to some semblance of normalcy.
“Yeah, that’s the goal, right? That’s the main thing,” Kane said. “But, you know, as far as everything goes, I’m happy I’m playing hockey, I’m happy to be here tonight. It’ll be fun to see some of the Blackhawks fans in the crowd and obviously play another game tonight. Try to do it as normal as possible.”
The NHL is having its own review of the matter, according to a statement released by deputy commissioner Bill Daly on Thursday. Asked if he’s had discussions with the league since that review began, or if he will going forward, Kane said, “I don’t know if that’s right for me to comment on that. So we’ll see.”
Kane’s teammates said Kane, in the room and on the ice, kept the focus on hockey.
“We’re just happy for him that it’s official now, that weight he’s probably been carrying around for a long time now is off his shoulders,” Jonathan Toews said. “He’s done an incredible job of focusing on his team, on himself and his job of playing great hockey, which he’s done so far. It’s hard to imagine the things that would’ve gone through my head or any other players in this room, had they gone through the same situation. He handled it very well and we’re happy he can just continue to focus on hockey and keep helping our team the way he has.”
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Said coach Joel Queneville, “I think everybody handled it as best we could. Kaner approached it every day coming to the rink, good attitude, his focus was in the right place and he played well. The consistency of his approach helped him through it. As a teammate, I don’t recall anybody ever discussing it or talking about it. It was always business as usual and the focus was on the next game and everyone has [his] own business as well. So it wasn’t the distraction it potentially could have been.”
Whatever Kane felt throughout the investigation, it didn’t appear to affect his game. Kane currently leads the team in goals (eight) and points (18).
“Like I said before, it’s one of those things where it’s kind of been my little getaway to play hockey and enjoy being at the rink. It’s what I love to do, I love being on the ice, I love playing hockey,” Kane said. “So I’m looking forward to getting a chance to keep doing that.”
Check out the Blackhawks reaction to Kane being absolved in the pair of videos below: