Toews pleads not guilty

PAUL TURENNE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

Team Canada junior star Jonathan Toews pleaded not guilty in a Grand Forks, N.D., courtroom yesterday to being underage in a bar.

Toews, an 18-year-old Winnipegger and up-and-coming hockey phenom, was among six people ticketed Jan. 28 for allegedly being inside Judy's Tavern in Grand Forks. The drinking age in North Dakota is 21.

Yesterday morning, Toews' lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf to a charge of being a minor in a licenced premise, said North Dakota state prosecutor Kristi Pettit.

His case will now be remanded to a future date.

The maximum sentence for the charge is a $1,000 fine or 30 days in jail.

Two of Toews' University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux teammates were also arrested during the incident.

T.J. Oshie was charged with the same offence as Toews, while Robbie Bina was charged with escaping custody after he allegedly opened the door of a police car to enable two other people to escape, although they did not get out of the cruiser.

Toews, who has won gold medals with Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship the past two years, elected to return to UND this season after being chosen third overall by the Chicago Blackhawks at the 2006 NHL entry draft.

Toews apologized for the incident in a public statement issued last week.


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