NHL forward JT Brown was arrested just hours before his Minnesota Wild team took on the Dallas Stars on Saturday ... 'cause cops say he was involved in TWO drunken altercations.
The Wild stud -- who was the first-ever NHL player to protest during the national anthem -- went out partying in Dallas the night before his team was set to play in Big D.
The problem ... cops say he got wasted -- and caused such a big scene with employees and patrons inside a local bar -- he was booted off the premises.
But, cops say JT later returned around 2 AM ... and drunkenly got into it AGAIN with bar employees -- and this time, cops say they decided to arrest him.
We're told JT was processed for public intoxication, a Misdemeanor C violation.
One of the crazier parts of the story?? The Wild kept Brown out of its game Saturday night but said it was because he was battling an illness.
For his part, Brown released a statement, saying, “I would like to apologize to the Minnesota Wild, my teammates, family, and fans for the poor decision I made."
"I went out the night before our last game in Dallas, put myself in a bad situation, and take full responsibility for my actions. I have learned from my mistake and will make sure it does not happen again."
JT scored 3 goals in 56 games for the Wild this season.