"I cannot apologize enough for the distraction this has caused ... " the Chicago Blackhawks star said at a news conference

By Char Adams
Updated September 18, 2015 12:55 PM
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Credit: Joe Raymond/AP

Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane spoke publicly on Thursday for the first time since being accused of rape, declaring that he expects to be exonerated.

“While I have too much respect for the legal process to comment on an ongoing matter, I am confident once all the facts are brought to light I will be absolved of having done (anything) wrong,” The 26-year-old said at a news conference, according to the Associated Press.

The hockey star is accused of assaulting a woman in August at his home in Buffalo, New York, the AP learned.

Kane has not been charged and a grand jury hearing in the investigation, previously set for Sept. 8, was abruptly postponed and rescheduled for later this month, ESPN reports.

The grand jury will review evidence in the case and determine whether there is enough to charge the 26-year-old.

Kane’s attorney Paul Cambria did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.

Kane was tight-lipped about the sexual assault allegations on Thursday as he sat at a table with Blackhawks President John McDonough, coach Joel Quenneville and general manager Stan Bowman.

He did, however, address the media attention plaguing the team (he will join the team for preseason training camp on Friday).

“I cannot apologize enough for the distraction this has caused my family, teammates, this incredible organization and, of course, our fans,” he said.

He added that although he would “love to answer the questions” surrounding the litigation, “this just isn’t the right time to do it with my respect, the Blackhawks’ respect for the legal process and what’s going on.”

He added: “I really can’t comment about that right now.”

Kane dodged reporters’ questions about the investigation, and the other men repeatedly worked to direct the line of questioning to hockey.

“I will say this hasn’t been an easy situation for any of us to deal with,” McDonough said, per the AP. “It’s been a challenging summer. This has weighed on all of us. We’re doing the best we can within the framework of what we can talk about today.”

This isn t the first time the hockey star has been the subject of negative headlines. According to the AP, Kane was arrested after an altercation with a cab driver in New York. However, the 26-year-old has stayed out of trouble in recent years.

Neither the Erie County District Attorney’s office nor Kane’s agent Pat Brisson responded to a request for comment from PEOPLE. But Brisson told Canada’s Sportsnet earlier this month that Kane is looking forward to a conclusion.

“The hardest part is seeing people jumping at conclusions – [Kane’s] done this, he’s done that. I just can’t wait for him to get back to his life.”

The Blackhawks’ season begins Oct. 7 against the New York Rangers.

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