Patrick Kane on Friday spoke to reporters about news that an investigation into allegations of rape against him would be dismissed thanking his family and fans for support.
"My family's been great, all my friends -- you go through something like this you realize who your close friends are. Obviously the Blackhawks have been great too so I appreciate all the support," he said.
But when asked if he was "relieved" by the decision, Kane said he's not so much relieved for himself.
"I’m more relieved for my family and my friends and the people that are close to me," he said.
His teammates also shared their support for Kane Friday, saying he "handled it well."
"I think we’re just happy for him that it’s official now, that that weight that he’s probably been carying around for a long time now is finally off his shoulders," said team captain Jonathan Toews. "He’s done an incredible job of focusing on his team and himself and his job of playing great hockey and he’s done that so far which is pretty amazing to see."
As for where to go next, Kane says his focus remains on hockey, where it has been for the last few months.
"As far as everything goes I’m happy I'm playing hockey, I’m happy to be here tonight, happy to see Blackhawks fans in the crowd and play another game tonight," he said.
Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita announced Thursday the investigation into the rape allegations will be dismissed. The decision comes just days after the 21-year-old woman who accused Kane of rape over the summer in New York said she no longer wants to cooperate with an investigation into her claims.
"There are significant material inconsistencies between the complainant’s accounts and those of other witnesses," Sedita said in a Thursday morning statement. "The DNA results lend no corroboration whatsoever to the complainant’s claim of penetration, a required element of proof for a rape charge."
Sedita said the forensic evidence contradicted the complainant’s claim that she was raped on Kane’s bed. He also said there were no incriminating statements made by Kane to anyone authorities spoke to throughout the exhaustive 3-month investigation that connected him to the alleged crime.
In a statement released after the decision, Kane said he's glad the matter is closed.
“I have repeatedly said that I did nothing wrong," Kane said. "I have respected the legal process and I am glad that this matter has now been closed and I will have nothing further to say going forward.”
Earlier in the week, the woman notified the Erie County District Attorney’s office of her decision, saying the investigation has caused stress on her and her family and she no longer wants to participate.
The woman signed a “Non-Prosecution Affidavit," according to Sedita, where she stated, in part: “After fully discussing all the circumstances with my attorney, I have decided I do not wish to criminally prosecute the charges which stem out of this investigation. I do so of my own free will and without any promises or compensation.”
Sedita says that was one of the most important factors in his decision to not move forward with criminal prosecution by bringing the case to an Erie County Grand Jury.
Upon hearing the news, Kane's attorney, Paul Cambria, told NBC Chicago: "Our investigation agrees with the District Attorneys and I am not surprised that they are not going forward."
"We maintained Patrick’s innocence all along," Cambria said. "It’s time to put this in the past."
The Blackhawks also released a statement saying they respect the decision and the legal process.
“We respect the announcement today by the Erie County (N.Y.) District Attorney regarding Patrick Kane," the team said. "The Chicago Blackhawks organization has taken this matter very seriously, and has tried to navigate a very sensitive situation while continually respecting the legal proceedings. At this time we will have no further comment.”