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Patrick Kane Investigation Has Been Closed, NHL Announces

Mar 6, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) with the puck during the third period against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center. Chicago won 4-1. Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2016

The NHL announced Wednesday its investigation into the sexual assault claims against Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane has closed after finding the allegations were "unfounded."     

"Based on its review, including the determination made by the Erie County District Attorney not to pursue charges, the NHL has concluded that the allegations made against Kane were unfounded," a statement read. "The League considers the matter closed and will have no further comment.”

The league said its investigation concluded following a meeting between Kane and Commissioner Gary Bettman on Monday. 

Kane, 27, was accused of sexual assault by a Hamburg, New York, woman in August. Prosecutors declined to press charges on the NHL All-Star following a three-month investigation, saying there was insufficient evidence.

"The totality of the credible evidence—the proof—does not sufficiently substantiate the complainant's allegation that she was raped by Patrick Kane," Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said in a statement, per Wesley Bruer and Greg Botelho of CNN. "This so-called 'case' is rife with reasonable doubt."

Kane vehemently denied the allegations while the investigation was ongoing. The Blackhawks allowed Kane to continue to play despite facing some public backlash, and he has turned in the best season of his career. The 2007 No. 1 overall pick has already set a career high with 89 points and is on pace to become the first American-born player to win the NHL scoring title.

“There were facts that we knew that were told to us—but hadn’t been made public—and that’s when we made our decision [to allow him to play]," owner Rocky Wirtz told Sports Illustrated (via James Neveau of NBC Chicago). "We believed Patrick when he said he didn’t do anything. With the supporting facts around it, we took him at his word—and rightfully so, I think."

In the same SI interview, Kane said he wanted to publicly defend himself at times but is now eager to "move on." The conclusion of the NHL's investigation should allow him to do so. 

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter

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