Pro hockey player to stand trial in boating incident

National Hockey League defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will stand trial for boating under the influence in connection with a August 2011 incident on Minnesota’s Lake Minnetonka. Mitchell Robinson, Byfuglien’s attorney, had hoped to reach a settlement with prosecutors, but said that the two sides remained too far apart.

“The prosecutor sees this as a boating-under-the-influence case and I see it as a case of failing to have navigation lights on,” Robinson told the Winnipeg Free Press.

When Byfuglien’s boat was stopped by police, he refused blood-alcohol tests. Police also charged him for failing to carry enough floatation devices for his passengers, and for failing to use navigation lights. Police allege that Byfuglien was visibly intoxicated, exhibiting slurred speech and poor coordination, and smelling of alcohol.

Robinson had sought to have the boating while intoxicated and test refusal charges dropped. Though prosecutors would not agree to drop the charges, Robinson remains optimistic as the case heads to trial.

Byfuglien played in 66 NHL games this year for the Winnipeg Jets. He was part of the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup-winning team in 2010.

The full report from Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press can be found here.