BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Sabres forward Evander Kane pleaded not guilty Monday to charges alleging he grabbed three women during an altercation at a downtown bar in June.
Kane didn't speak as his attorney entered the plea for him in Buffalo City Court during the brief appearance. Judge Barbara Johnson-Lee scheduled his next court date for Sept. 9.
Kane, who turns 25 Tuesday, was arrested July 22 after turning himself in to police. He was charged with non-criminal harassment, disorderly conduct and trespass and was released after being processed.
The charges stem from an alleged incident that occurred early on June 24 at Bottoms Up, a nightclub in Buffalo's popular Chippewa Street entertainment district. Three women said they were grabbed by Kane inside the bar. A male bar employee said he also had a run-in with the NHL player.
His lawyer, Paul Cambria, has questioned why Kane was charged with trespassing when he was invited to the bar by its owner. Cambria called the allegations "extremely exaggerated" while saying his client "denies strenuously any wrongdoing."
Cambria also played down reports that some of the encounters were captured by the bar's video surveillance cameras.
Erie County Acting District Attorney Michael Flaherty said, "it's our opinion that the evidence does support the charges," but wouldn't go into details about what the video showed.
According to the complaints given to police by the three women, Kane either pulled their hair or grabbed them by neck during encounters inside the bar. One of the women said Kane told her, "You're coming to my house with me and you're going to like it."
When the woman told him no, Kane grabbed her around the neck with both hands, the woman told police.
Another woman told police that Kane grabbed her hair from behind, while the third said he grabbed her throat and pulled her hair.
A bouncer told police that the DJ sent him a text around 3 a.m. saying, "Kane's gotta go." The bouncer said that after he told Kane he had to leave the nightclub, Kane pushed him twice before "someone else grabbed Kane and walked him out the back."
After the bar closed, employees watched video surveillance that showed Kane grabbing one of the women by the throat on the dance floor, the bouncer said.
In March, prosecutors announced that Kane would not face a sexual assault charge stemming from a December incident in Buffalo because there was no evidence to support the allegation.
The fourth player selected in the 2009 draft, Kane was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Winnipeg in February 2015. He scored 20 goals and added 15 assists in 65 games last season. He has two years remaining on his contract.