Controversial NHL Player Evander Kane Asks Fans of New Team Stay 'Open Minded'

NHL player Evander Kane asked fans to stay "open-minded" after signing with the Edmonton Oilers amid controversy that has surrounded him recently.

Kane has had multiple issues that have impacted his career. He declared bankruptcy in 2021, he has publically admitted to having a gambling issue, though he has repeatedly denied betting on NHL games, he was suspended by the NHL for reportedly using a fake COVID vaccine card and he had his contract with the San Jose Sharks terminated due to what the team called COVID protocol violations.

Kane's signing with the Oilers come shortly after the NHL released its findings of an investigation into his "cross-border" travel. The investigation was prompted following reports that Kane traveled from his home in California to Vancouver shortly after testing positive for COVID-19.

Kane addressed the controversies during his introductory press conference in Edmonton on Friday.

"I want to clear up a lot of the misinformation, a lot of the storylines painting me in a certain light that are completely untrue, inaccurate and false," Kane said during a press conference on Friday. "I would encourage [fans] to be open-minded, to allow me to do what I do best and get to know me on the ice, off the ice, around the rink, in the community, and see what I bring to the table."

During a recent interview with The Shift, Kane confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19 on December 21 and noted that he was in Vancouver several days after.

"I will say, it's not as black and white as you think and it's not necessarily what's being reported to be accurate," Kane said.

The NHL said Kane would not face any discipline in connection with the cross-border travel investigation.

"The report prepared in connection with the investigation, which was conducted by Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, concluded that there was insufficient evidence to 'conclusively find that Mr. Kane knowingly made misrepresentations regarding his COVID-19 status or test results in connection with his international travel,'" the NHL said in a statement this week.

Prior to the NHL's investigation into his recent travel, Kane was also suspended 21 games by the league, while a member of the San Jose Sharks, for reportedly using a fake COVID-19 vaccine card.

ESPN reported in October that the NHL said it suspended Kane for "an established violation of, and lack of compliance with, the NHL/NHLPA COVID-19 Protocol."

In a statement following his suspension, Kane said apologized to his teammates, the Sharks and the team's fans.

"I made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for. During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counseling to help me make better decisions in the future. When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey," Kane said in the statement.

In September, the NHL also concluded an investigation into allegations that Kane gambled on NHL games while a member of the Sharks, which were brought to life on social media by his wife.

"The investigation uncovered no evidence to corroborate Ms. Kane's accusations that Mr. Kane bet or otherwise participated in gambling on NHL games, and no evidence to corroborate the allegations that Mr. Kane 'threw' games or did not put forward his best effort to help the Sharks win games. To the contrary, the evidence raises doubts about the veracity of the allegations," the NHL said.

During the press conference on Friday, Oilers' general manager Ken Holland said, "When it comes to his talent, his skill set, obviously he's a very, very talented player that's going to make us better."

Evander Kane
NHL player Evander Kane asked fans of the Edmonton Oilers to stay "open minded" after signing with the team on Friday, January 28, 2022. Above, Kane, then a member of the San Jose Sharks warms up during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on March 27, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty