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Blackhawks Patrick Kane guilty of disorderly conduct

Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane speaks after his arraignment on Aug. 20, 2009. Kane pleaded guilty Thursday to a non-criminal charge of disorderly conduct. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/ David Duprey)

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Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane speaks after his arraignment on Aug. 20, 2009. Kane pleaded guilty Thursday to a non-criminal charge of disorderly conduct. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/ David Duprey)

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane and his cousin pleaded guilty Thursday to a non-criminal charge of disorderly conduct and were ordered to send an apology to the cab driver they were accused of roughing up over 20 cents.

The 20-year-old player and his 21-year-old cousin, James Kane, were given conditional discharges, meaning they will avoid any penalties if they stay out of trouble for a year and write apologies to cabbie Jan Radecki.

"Obviously, I'm in a little different situation than most kids at this age but at the same time I think it's definitely been a learning lesson and something I want to move forward on," Kane told City Court Judge Thomas Amodeo before receiving his sentence. "It's maybe better I learn it now than later in life."

Outside the courtroom, Kane apologized to his family, the city, the Blackhawks and his fans "for being in a regrettable situation."

"But it's behind me. It's time to move on," he said.

Accompanied by his parents, Kane took no questions from reporters, stopping only to deliver his statement as he left the courthouse in his hometown.

In court, defence lawyer Paul Cambria said Kane is a law-abiding person and outstanding athlete.

"He desires to be a tremendous role model and I believe that he is," Cambria said.

Radecki told police the cousins attacked him Aug. 9 when he said he didn't have 20 cents in change for their fare. The driver had bruises and broken glasses.

Later reports indicated the dispute started after Radecki, following the practice of some other drivers in college neighbourhoods, locked the cab doors until collecting the fare to ensure his passengers did not leave without paying. Radecki said the Kanes gave him $15 for a $13.80 fare and that he gave them a dollar back but did not have coins for the final 20 cents.

Cambria said Radecki has a lesson to learn, too.

"Cab drivers, if any of them try to lock people in the car and just presume that they're not going to pay them, and when they ask to be released so they can get out and get their money out of their pocket, they shouldn't keep the doors locked and drive the car down the street," Cambria said.

When asked whether Patrick Kane struck the 62-year-old cabbie, Cambria said, "I absolutely have no basis to say that he struck Mr. Radecki. I wasn't there. You weren't there."

Message left by The Associated Press for Radecki's lawyer, Andrew LoTempio, were not immediately returned Thursday. Radecki, reached by phone, declined to comment.

Lawyers said Radecki sought no restitution, just an apology.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said he was glad to see a resolution.

"We recognize that this has been a difficult time for Patrick, his family and all of those involved," Bowman said.

The Kanes were indicted Aug. 19 on misdemeanour charges of assault and theft of services and harassment, a violation. A grand jury dismissed a more serious felony assault charge.

"It's amazing that you're even here," Amodeo told the Kanes from the bench. "If you look at the situation and think of 'What did I do?' and all the other alternatives you had to deal with the situation, it wasn't a smart move."

Amodeo could have sentenced the Kanes to as many as 15 days in jail and a US$250 fine.

Patrick Kane was the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft and the NHL's rookie of the year in 2008.

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