SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane apologized for his ongoing legal issues on the opening day of training camp here Thursday but the South Buffalo native pretty much went into Marshawn Lynch mode saying he "appreciated" questions -- but refusing to answer them -- during a bizarre session with reporters at Notre Dame's Compton Family Ice Arena.
Kane, the subject of a sexual assault investigation from an alleged incident last month in his Hamburg home, is scheduled to be on the ice Friday when the Hawks open camp.
Kane's full prepared statement read as follows: "This has been an incredibly difficult time for many people. I cannot apologize enough for the distraction this has caused my family, my teammates, this incredible organization and, of course, our fans. While I have too much respect for the legal process to comment on an ongoing matter, I am confident that once all the facts are brought to light, I will be absolved of having done nothing wrong."
(Social media quickly pointed out Kane's clumsily worded double negative but that is how he read his statement).
Asked if he embarrassed the organization, Kane said, "I appreciate your question. I know that's a lot of different things and a lot of different questions you guys have but I have to stay confident in myself and the legal process. I understand the question but I'd like to keep it to hockey questions only."
How will the fans respond? "This is one of those situations that I've addressed from the outset," Kane said. "I appreciate the question and where you're coming from."
A reporter from the Chicago Sun-Times flatly asked Kane if he needs to stop drinking and Kane even said he appreciated that question too.
As for hockey, Kane had a few more words.
"I'm focused and I'm happy to be at camp. It's an unbelievable venue here at Notre Dame," Kane said. "... It's good to be back here again. I'm happy to see all my teammates and get down to our physical testing today. My body feels really good. I'm excited, healthy and that's always a good thing going into the hockey season. I'm looking forward to having a good camp, trying to get better every day and hopefully peak before the season starts."
Around 100 media members were jammed into an arena auditorium for the news conference, which annually serves as a kickoff to Hawks camp. This was, however, far different than normal. There were 16 television cameras in the back of the room and the event was televised live in Canada on TSN, as well as in Chicago and Buffalo.
A grim-faced Hawks president John McDonough read a prepared statement prior to Kane's remarks. It was as follows:
"The Chicago Blackhawks organization prides itself in trying to make calculated and deliberate decisions based on information we have at the present time. We recognize that Patrick Kane is dealing with a very serious situation. Based on our discussions with his legal representatives, who are very close to this matter, we have decided to have Patrick join us for training camp here at the University of Notre Dame. Furthermore, we have the utmost respect for the legal process and will have no further comment on this issue at this time. Thank you.”