Kane asks fans to keep an open mind as he joins the Oilers

Edmonton Oilers new NHL hockey player Evander Kane speaks during a news conference in Edmonton, Alta., Friday, Jan. 28, 2022. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Edmonton Oilers new NHL hockey player Evander Kane speaks during a news conference in Edmonton, Alta., Friday, Jan. 28, 2022. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

PA

Evander Kane knows he won’t be universally loved by Edmonton Oilers fans.

Edmonton is the 30-year-old forward’s fourth franchise, whose contract was dropped by the San Jose Sharks. There will be questions about his past, suspensions due to violations of COVID-19 protocols, bankruptcy and admitted gambling issues. The abuse allegations filed by his ex-wife were not proven in court.

Kane met the media on Friday for the first time since agreeing a deal for the remainder of the season.

“I want to clear up a lot of the misinformation, a lot of the storylines that portray me in a certain light that are completely wrong, inaccurate, and untrue,” Kane said. “I would encourage (fans) to be open-minded, to allow myself to do what I do best and to know myself on the ice, off the ice, around the rink, in the community, and see what I bring to the board.

“Every city I’ve been to, I’ve always worked in the community and done what I could to help make that city, that community a better place.”

There’s no denying Kane’s talent with 506 points in 769 games. But Kane continually made headlines for the wrong reasons.

Last fall, he was suspended 21 games for violating COVID-19 protocols by submitting a fake vaccine card. He was investigated by the league for another alleged violation this season which ended earlier this week.

Kane declared bankruptcy in 2021, with more than $26 million in debt. He publicly admitted he had a gambling problem, but denied betting or influencing NHL games.

“I take responsibility for the things I did wrong,” Kane said. “But I definitely don’t take responsibility for things I didn’t do…

“It’s funny that people think I’m going to come in, like a kid in the playground, and disrupt everything. That’s just not the case, he said. I have a lot of experience on and off the ice, I’ve been in this league for a long time, and I try to share those experiences with my team and try to help them avoid making the same mistakes I made.

Oilers president of hockey operations and general manager Ken Holland said he did his homework on Kane.

“I’ve talked to people in our organization, I’ve talked to people outside of the organization,” Holland said. “At the end of the day, you’re talking about chemistry. In terms of his talent, his skills, he’s obviously a very, very talented player who is going to make us better.

Holland, coach Dave Tippett and Kane had dinner in Vancouver earlier this week when the Oilers were in town to face the Canucks. They met for two and a half hours.

“I left that dinner feeling that Evander would be a very positive addition to our hockey team,” Holland said.

Kane is expected to make his Oilers debut when the team takes on Montreal on Saturday night.

He said “quite a few teams” showed interest in signing him after he and the Sharks parted ways.

“I had to make a decision that was going to be best for me, and these teams kept dropping, and we got to a number where Edmonton was obviously in the mix,” Kane said. “It became increasingly clear that this was the best solution for me.”

Kane is a two-time 30-goal scorer and has topped 20 in a season five other times.

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