Earlier this summer, Evander Kane signed a huge extension with the Sharks to stay in San Jose for the next 7 years.
Kane was dealt to the Sharks during the season and helped San Jose lock up a playoff spot and beat the Ducks in the first round before losing to the Golden Knights.
He also got his first taste of playoff hockey and recorded 5 points in 9 games. On Friday, Kane opened up about being traded to the Sharks, his decision to stay in San Jose, as well as his time in Winnipeg in The Players' Tribune:
On the afternoon of February 26, 2018, I got three phone calls.
The first was from Jason Botterill, the GM of the Buffalo Sabres. He told me he was trading me. I was going to be a San Jose Shark. The second was from my agent. He confirmed that I was, indeed, going to be a San Jose Shark.
And then the third call was from Joe Thornton.
“You’re going to be a Shaaaaaaaark!”
Have you ever heard Jumbo excited? It was glorious. He told me he had been working with Doug Wilson, the Sharks GM, to try and get me out to San Jose. To hear that Jumbo had actually gone to the GM and advocated trading for me … I couldn’t pack my bags fast enough.
As for his time in Winnipeg, obviously the things that happened off the ice led to fans having a negative perception of Kane as a person and he addressed what happened in his Players' Tribune article:
I wish things had gone differently in Winnipeg, because I was excited to go to a market that was so passionate about hockey. But it became clear, pretty quickly, that it wasn’t the right fit. It was a combination of things. First, it was frustrating not to have success on the ice. I had been in the NHL for five years and never experienced a winning season. I play to win. That, for me, is the best thing about hockey. hockey. So after every season in Winnipeg, I requested a trade. And each summer, nothing happened. But no matter the situation off the ice, my play and effort never changed. So I played my ass off for the Jets, because that was all there was to do.
Then, around 2013, there was the stuff about my social media. I think this should be addressed because in regards to social media and showing personality, I feel as a League and as players we need to take a more active approach in embracing what makes everyone unique.
Why does hockey culture shun people for embracing the entertainment side of the game? I think it’s an ingrained idea that players who show personality — who show some flair — are somehow selfish or a distraction to their team. I’m not playing the victim card here — I know the repercussions of posting a photo with a stack of money in your hand. But look at the NBA. Look at how that league promotes its players and their individuality. It’s not considered selfish, and it’s not frowned upon.
I see it like this: Being myself and trying to have some fun with it is good for the organization, which is good for the league, which is good for the game. The leagues that encourage self-promotion, identity and originality … well, to be honest, they make a lot more money than the NHL does. And in doing so, they can grow their game more. Because isn’t that what we’re trying to do here? I want more young boys and girls to experience where hockey can take them. We can do that, all while accepting the uniqueness of our players.
So when I got labelled as “spoiled,” or “rich kid” for portraying myself as I did, it didn’t make sense to me.
I earned my NHL money after 18 years of sacrifice by my parents, my sisters and myself. And if I wanted to put some of it on my back to do a pushup and have a little fun, so what? Those photos, and that side of me, is just a small part of who I am. But there just isn’t a league-wide push to show off who we really are — so fans get these snapshot ideas, compounded by a negative hockey culture. It’s not good for anyone.
As for re-signing with San Jose, Kane explained it was a very easy decision:
A few days after I arrived and had played a few games, I went for a walk with Timo Meier down Santana Row — a great street outside downtown. And I must have been stopped 40 times by Sharks fans. No joke. Timo said he had never seen anything like that. So many of them told me what the Sharks meant to them — how hard it was to lose in the Cup finals in 2016, and how desperately they wanted me to help them get back there.
I sort of thought I’d get to San Jose, walk down the streets in shorts every day and nobody would recognize me … but this city isn’t just a Sharks town — it’s a hockey town with a bunch of hockey nuts. Burnzie was right. And the best part about that day with Timo was getting back to my apartment, sitting on the couch and realizing that people wanted me there.
I’ve thought about that day quite a few times since the season ended. It was one of the first things that came to mind when I stepped off the ice after our Game 6 loss to Vegas. You know, it’s funny, I never thought if that was going to be the last time I wore a Sharks jersey. But I knew, I just knew, that I didn’t want it to be. That series meant so much to me. Game 1 was terrible. We got behind the eight ball right away and I let things spiral out of control. It was so painful watching Game 2 from the stands. Honestly, no joke, watching that game after being suspended was the most nervous I’ve ever been for a hockey game. I went for dinner that night before puck drop with Joel Ward. He could see how nervous I was. That game felt like it lasted a thousand hours.
When Cooch scored that double overtime goal, I was jacked.
Maybe I didn’t know it then, but I know it now: That’s when I knew I wanted to be a Shark until I retire.
Make sure you read Kane's entire article in The Players' Tribune here and we wish Kane nothing but success in San Jose with the Sharks!
(H/T: The Players' Tribune)