BUFFALO, N.Y. – The NHL says it is “following developments” of a police investigation involving Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.
The Blackhawks said Thursday they are in the process of gathering information and declined further comment.
The Buffalo News, however, relying on two law enforcement sources who were not named, reported that Kane is the target of a rape investigation.
A local woman has accused Kane of a sexual assault, the sources said, adding that she went to a hospital and tests were performed.
Neighbors of Kane, who lives in Hamburg, N.Y., in the offseason, told the Chicago Tribune that police arrived at his lakefront property Sunday night and that several plainclothes officers entered his house using flashlights. At least one wore gloves and was seen taking pictures out front.
“If and when an arrest is made, we will provide the information,” Hamburg Police Chief Gregory Wickett said.
Kane has been lauded in recent years for his growth after several off-the-ice incidents earlier in his career. He was scheduled to bring the Stanley Cup to Buffalo this weekend — Chicago won it last spring for the third time in six seasons — but it’s unclear whether that will happen.
Kane was playing at an MVP-caliber level last season before breaking his collarbone in February. He returned for the playoffs.
Chicago took Kane with the first pick in the 2007 NHL draft. Kane, who turns 27 in November, helped Chicago return to the playoffs during the 2008-09 season after a five-year drought. They lost in the conference finals to Detroit, but bounced back the next season to beat Philadelphia in six games in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Blackhawks won it all again in 2013, with Kane earning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
Off-ice Kane has had problems. He pleaded guilty to the noncriminal violation of disorderly conduct in August 2009 after he was arrested in connection with a dispute with a Buffalo cabdriver. Though criminal charges against him were dropped, a judge ordered him to send an apology to the driver, who accused Kane and his cousin of assault and stealing a fare.
In May 2012, pictures surfaced of Kane celebrating Cinco de Mayo in Madison, Wis. A Madison Police Department representative told the Tribune then that Kane was involved in an altercation outside a bar but left when an officer told him to move on. He was not arrested.
In an interview before last year’s Sochi Games, Kane said there were things he knew that he didn’t a few years earlier: “Picking the right times to have fun with the guys and to make sure that when you’re doing it, you’re doing it right, and you’re careful about the way you’re going about it.”
After the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in June, Kane made a playful reference to his past behavior when he addressed fans at the championship rally.
“I know you said I’ve been growing up, but watch out for me the next week,” Kane said.