Byfuglien arrested for drunk boating
ROSS ROMANIUK, QMI Agency
|The mugshot of Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien after his arrest for boating while intoxicated Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2011 in Minnestoa. (Handout)
WINNIPEG - Winnipeg Jets star defenceman Dustin Byfuglien is facing possible charges after being arrested on suspicion of boating while intoxicated on a lake in a Minneapolis suburb.
Byfuglien, a 26-year-old Roseau, Minn., native, spent about three hours in jail in Minneapolis overnight Wednesday following his arrest by a Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office deputy on Lake Minnetonka, in Excelsior, Minn.
He was released from custody shortly before 2:30 a.m. Thursday after being booked for “probable cause” on intoxicated boating, and for allegedly refusing a blood or urine test.
Steve Tallen, a Lake Minnetonka Conservation District attorney, will consider laying charges against Byfuglien — one of the Jets’ most talented players — within the coming days.
“He’s one of the big stars everyone is talking about,” Dave Dupont, a Jets fan wearing one of the team’s new sweatshirts, said after the arrest began making headlines. “I hope it doesn’t affect our season — him being suspended or any reaction from the league. I hope it can be dealt with outside of hockey.”
Jets spokesman Scott Brown said little about the arrest, noting the team was gathering details.
The arrest itself is big news, but hardly the biggest about Byfuglien, who was second on the Thrashers in scoring last season with 53 points. According to Darren Wolfson of Minnesota-based ESPN 1500, Byfuglien tipped the sheriff’s office scales at 286 pounds — about 40 pounds heavier than his purported playing weight.
On Twitter, Wolfson said he had been told Byfuglien “weighed in at 286 lbs. Holy crap! He played at about 245 lbs. last year.”
The sheriff’s office gave no information on potential sentences if Byfuglien is charged and convicted.
If Byfuglien is left with a criminal record, though, he could run into legal roadblocks with the Jets. Lisa White, spokeswoman for the Canada Border Services Agency, said anyone with a criminal conviction is generally inadmissible to Canada.
In that case, however, Byfuglien would be able to apply for a temporary resident permit, which White said is for “permission, consideration, to enter Canada for a specified purpose” for a certain period.
She declined to speculate on the chances of such a high-profile athlete being granted a resident permit, and how quickly.
“They’re determined on a case-by-case basis,” White said. “It would come with terms and conditions.”
— With files from Ted Wyman