Dustin Byfuglien arrested on Lake Minnetonka drunk-boating charge

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 2, 2011 - 12:15 AM

Minnesota hockey star was arrested at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday on Lower Lake South in Excelsior and refused to submit to a blood or urine test, the Sheriff's Office said.

Dustin Byfuglien

Photo: Hennepin County Sheriff's Dept,

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NHL star and Minnesota native Dustin Byfuglien was arrested on Lake Minnetonka and booked on suspicion of boating while intoxicated, authorities said on Thursday.

Byfuglien, 26, was arrested at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday on Lower Lake South in Excelsior and refused to submit to a blood or urine test for alcohol consumption, according to the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.

According to jail records, he was brought into the jail at about 11:10 p.m. and released a little more than three hours later pending formal charges. The sheriff's office declined to say any more about Byfuglien's arrest.

A message was left for Byfuglien on his cell phone seeking comment about his arrest. His Twin Cities-based agent, Ben Hankinson, declined to answer any questions.

Byfuglien, who was born in Minneapolis and raised in Roseau, starred for the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks during the 2009-10 season, scoring 11 goals in 22 playoff games.

Byfuglien now plays for the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets will play their first season in the Canadian city starting in October after moving from Atlanta.

In 341 career NHL games, Byfuglien has 75 goals and 87 assists. Last year with the Atlanta Thrashers, the 6-foot-5, 265-pounder scored 20 goals and collected 31 assists.

Byfuglien rents a home on Lake Minnetonka in the off-season, said Dale Smedsmo, his stepfather. Byfuglien gave the jail an address in Spring Park, a community on a strip of land along County Road 15.

"He's got to grow up," Smedsmo said when told of the arrest.

Smedsmo, who lives in northern Minnesota and regularly enters Canada, added that a conviction on an alcohol-related charge could complicate Byfuglien's ability to cross into Canada.

Jets spokesman Scott Brown said that team officials are aware of Canada's strict laws on allowing drunken-driving violators to enter the country. However, Brown added, "there is a very real possibility that he will not be charged at all," noting that authorities had yet to do so as of Thursday afternoon.

In the meantime, Brown said, "we will keep gathering information and see what happens."

Byfuglien has been skating in a Twin Cities camp in preparation for the season and appeared to be substantially heavier than his playing weight of last season.

Star Tribune staff writer Michael Russo contributed to this report.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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