Evander Kane: Positive Addition or Negative Attention?

By Matt Pepper / CKSN.ca

You may have heard this before in a civilian job.

“They are worth the headache.”

“I can’t fire them for this, because they are good at their job.”

“I’m not worried about what happened with another person, I need a body here.”

Sadly, this has happened in many workplaces throughout history and while we are reaching a point in history that individuals are being held to a higher code of conduct in society, sports has been much slower to catch up.

That brings us to Evander Kane.

Now, let’s be clear. Kane will more than likely be signed by an NHL team once all of his investigative matters have concluded. He’s rumoured to be wearing an Oilers jersey before long. There is literally nothing that I can write in this piece that will change that, nor is it my decision to decide whether he plays again or not.

He is the perfect example of a team saying, “He may be worth the headache.”

Evander Kane has had a long history of personal and legal concerns. He’s been sued for assault, arrested (and later dismissed) for criminal trespassing and harassment, and both of those involved (alleged) incidents with women.

His estranged wife has accused him of domestic battery and sexual assault, to go a long with a restraining order she had filed. She also accused him of betting on NHL games he was involved with. The NHL investigation regarding these allegations could not be substantiated.

To shift to his on – ice career, he was suspended from the San Jose Sharks this year due to violating COVID-19 protocols after he submitted a fake vaccination card. He had teammates anonymously give statements about how they did not want him to return to the team due to his lack of respect for team rules.

Kane was placed on waivers, went unclaimed, and spent time in the AHL. In December he tested positive for COVID-19 and flew to Vancouver without (according to San Jose) proper medical clearance. He was then put on unconditional waivers and his contract was terminated.

The general frustration from his own locker room and organization was enough for the Sharks to terminate his contract. He’s had a history of teammates being frustrated with his conduct, including his time in Winnipeg with Dustin Byfuglien after Kane refused to play a game for the Jets.

So, why would an NHL team take a chance on a controversial figure like Kane?

They just want to win, period. They typically don’t care how they get there either.

Teams will generally look at this as a rental. Someone they can sign for at a low cost and move on from if it doesn’t work out. This isn’t new in sports. If an owner can win (and/or make money), they will eat the bad publicity in the hopes that the masses will forget about it. Who cares about feelings if you get a championship, right?

We are sadly just now learning about a large number of victims (some alleged and some proven) in sports coming forward regarding conduct from many fans’ favourite athletes. Allegations can range anywhere from physical to sexual abuse, among many other forms of questionable conduct. Many sports stars we’ve looked up to have had questionable stories about behavior come out in the public eye. It’s quite astonishing when you sit back and research this.

Second chances (or more) in life are important when an individual has been able to show that they have made positive changes in their life and can demonstrate a positive level of conduct that shows legitimate changes have been made.

For me, I have yet to see this with Evander Kane. He’s not shown anything (at least publicly), that he wouldn’t be a negative in a dressing room or would have a positive influence on young fans watching him.

I will sign off with this question.

Would you be happy with Kane on your team?

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