Patrick Kane Is Playing An Exhibition Game Tonight At The United Center
By Kate Shepherd in News on Sep 22, 2015 9:27PM
Patrick Kane speaking during the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Championship Rally in June. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
It's been about six weeks since we learned that police in Hamburg, New York are investigating Blackhawks star Patrick Kane in alleged sexual assault case. Kane will take the ice at the United Center tonight for his first (exhibition) game since the allegations.
More details about the active case have been leaking out recently, including the results of the accuser's rape kit. Kane, who publicly claimed his innocence last week, is happy with the support he's been getting from Blackhawks fans, especially at Monday night's fan festival, he told the Tribune.
"I think support has been really good," he said. "I think just driving in last night you see some No. 88s walking into the building and things like that. It's pretty cool to see. Fans have always been great here but especially the past week or so, the support has been great. It's kind of what you come to expect from Chicago fans."
It's been a tough summer for many Blackhawks fans who've been torn between team loyalty and not wanting to condone a possible sexual assault. Daily Herald reporter John Dietz conducted an unofficial survey of fans at last night's festival.
An overwhelming majority of the fans questioned felt that the team made the right decision allowing Kane to attend training camp. Perhaps surprisingly, 78 percent of the women surveyed believe that fans should be cheering for Kane when he's playing but only 50 percent of the men think fans should support Kane on the ice.
"That's a gray area for me," Eric Knapp told the Herald. "Me, I'm not cheering. I don't want to say I totally support him because he's had so many chances."
Not all female fans are willing to publicly support Kane while he's under investigation.
"I firmly embrace 'innocent until proven guilty,' but I can't publicly and affirmatively join in such an outpouring of support until there is complete exoneration of wrongdoing, which there may never be," attorney Michele vonEbers told the Herald.
A grand jury investigating the case is expected to resume proceedings soon. If Kane is charged, then he will likely be suspended from the NHL immediately, according to the Tribune.
Coach Joel Quenneville did not answer questions on whether he'll play Kane on the road during the preseason in order to see how fans from opposing teams will receive him.
"We'll see how that plays out," Quenneville told the Tribune.