NHL

Byfuglien charged in boating incident

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP)

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien was charged Tuesday with boating while intoxicated three weeks ago on a lake in the suburbs west of Minneapolis.

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According to a criminal complaint from the Hennepin County Sheriff's office, a water patrol officer on Lake Minnetonka stopped Byfuglien's boat the evening of Aug. 31 because the navigational lights weren't on.

According to the officer, Byfuglien's speech was slurred, his eyes were bloodshot and watery, he was unsteady on his feet and he smelled of alcohol. There were three people in the boat with him.

Authorities also said Byfuglien admitted to taking a muscle relaxant but couldn't remember the name of the drug and he said he takes a ''handful of supplements from 16 or 17 different bottles every day.''

Byfuglien was charged with third-degree boating while intoxicated, a gross misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to a year in jail, and refusing to submit to a test. He was also charged with failing to display the proper warning lights on the boat and not having enough flotation devices for everyone on board.

General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, in a statement issued by the organization, said the Jets are ''fully aware'' of the charges against Byfuglien.

''While we will continue to support him in this situation, we understand the severity of the charges involved in this case,'' Cheveldayoff said. ''We will continue to monitor the situation closely and until the continuing legal process is completed, we will have no further comment.''

Mitch Robinson, Byfuglien's attorney, said he planned to enter an innocent plea at Byfuglien's next court appearance Oct. 21.

Asked about the supplements cited in the criminal complaint, Robinson said: ''I don't know everything that he's been taking, but he assures me that everything he's been taking is sanctioned by the NHL.''

Substance abuse is a sensitive issue in the NHL after the deaths of two players in the offseason, including former Minnesota Wild tough guy Derek Boogaard.

Byfuglien, a Minnesota native, was on the Chicago Blackhawks team that won the Stanley Cup in 2010. He was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers in a salary dump, and the franchise was relocated to Winnipeg in the offseason.

Tagged: Jets, Dustin Byfuglien

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