We Need to Talk About Evander

evanderkane

The Atlanta Thrashers (RIP) selected a young Evander Kane 4th overall in the 2009 draft. In his rookie season he notched up 26 points then 43 the following season despite suffering from injuries including a broken foot. The Thrashers got a facelift and relocation to become the Winnipeg Jets.

Kane’s time in Winnipeg was tumultuous – by NHL standards. On the ice, he’s big and fast and a dab hand at scoring – his first season as a Jet saw him hit a career high of 57 points. Off the ice, things seemed to slip. Numerous incidents were reported. He recreated Mayweather’s money phone picture which in itself isn’t particularly harmful, just somewhat flash (my biggest concern would be modelling yourself after Mayweather). However, this was in the midst over the NHL lockout so posing with a big stack of money may not have been the brightest option. During the lockout, Kane signed for Dinamo Minsk and after 12 games he was released. Yikes! In 12 games he racked up one goal and one suspension. Not great. People were not impressed that he got some letters shaved in his head in reference to a Lil Wayne song either. He performed push ups with stacks of money on his back too. The Jets PR team asked him to tone down his tweets as well (which isn’t the first time players have landed themselves in hot water over their social media posts). The nail in the coffin for his time in Winnipeg was when Kane elected to wear a tracksuit rather than a suit-suit to a team meeting which violated policy. Dustin Byfuglien reportedly threw the clothes in the shower to send a message then Kane didn’t show up to the team bus and informed them he wouldn’t be playing in their upcoming match against the Canucks.

I’m sure you have rules in your household … and if the kids don’t stick to it, you’ve got to discipline them. It is what it is. – Byfuglien

I understand the annoyance with Kane; he’s flash and behaving a bit like a diva. They’re not particularly troubling incidences, and dare I say slightly expected when you throw millions of dollars at a good looking, talented young athlete?

The Jets traded Evander Kane to the Buffalo Sabres and here’s where things really slip. During his time with the Jets, the forward was accused of assault in Vancouver but charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence. After joining Buffalo, Kane was accused of sexual assault in December 2015 but those charges were also dropped due to lack of evidence the following March. In June 2016, Kane was yet again accused of physically harassing two women at a bar. Innocent until proven guilty, yadda yadda yadda, but there’s no smoke without fire. That’s a lot of serious accusations in a short space of time and Evander Kane isn’t a kid anymore, he’s 25 in August. He’s a grown man who needs to take responsibility for his behaviour. He is paid a lot of money to play hockey, but he also has a duty to behave as a role model because many kids will be looking up to him – particularly young black kids because non-white NHLers are hard to find. Maybe he didn’t ask to be a role model, but it’s one of the cons of the job; hand back your money phone, your wads from the push ups, and all the fame that comes with it and play hockey in an amateur league if that’s the case.

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One of the main issues is that the NHL (and other professional sports) create these self-entitled babies who believe everyone else is at fault for their terrible life decisions. Kane himself said he felt the Jets organisation didn’t have his back and they traded him rather than sort the issue out. You wore a track suit which was against team rules – deal with it!! Yes, it’s a stupid rule, but it is a rule!

The Sabres want to off-load one of their star players and the Canucks are reportedly ready to swoop. It’ll be a home coming for Kane, and the Canucks will see this as an absolute steal if they sign him. You know, who really cares about police trouble when he’s good at hockey, right?? Look at the more well known Kane of the NHL, Patrick. He’s had his fair share of run ins with the law, but when you score 106 points in a season to win the Art Ross trophy, does your personal character matter? Not to the NHL!

It’s disappointing. I hope Kane (both Kanes) can sort out their off-ice messes and begin to behave like men, but I won’t hold my breath. You know how they say you have an evil twin? Maybe neither is the good one.

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