Sharks' Evander Kane Believes He'll Be Cleared by NHL Gambling Investigation

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 16, 2021

SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 12:  San Jose Sharks left wing Evander Kane (9) warms up before the San Jose Sharks game versus the Vegas Golden Knights on May 12, 2021, at SAP Center at San Jose in San Jose, CA. (Photo by Matt Cohen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Matt Cohen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane described allegations from his estranged wife, Anna Kane, that he bet on NHL games, including those he played in, as "incredibly false."

Kane told ESPN's Linda Cohn on Thursday he expects the NHL's investigation will clear him of any wrongdoing.

"It's unfortunate that transpired, and it's unfortunate that those false allegations were made," he said. "I understood the magnitude of them immediately. I know [they're] not true. I know none of what she was saying was true. I was very confident, comfortable with knowing that I was going to be exonerated and am going to be exonerated of those allegations."

Outside The Lines @OTLonESPN

.<a href="https://twitter.com/evanderkane_9?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@evanderkane_9</a> sat down with <a href="https://twitter.com/lindacohn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@lindacohn</a> to discuss his issues off the ice, including accusations of betting on his own games. <a href="https://t.co/WQSOiqXBhX">pic.twitter.com/WQSOiqXBhX</a>

Anna Kane made a series of posts on her Instagram story on July 31 that alleged her husband actively tried to lose games because he bet against his own team, per Zac Al-Khateeb of Sporting News.

"How does the NHL let a compulsive gambling addict still play when he's obviously throwing games with bookies to win money?" she wrote. "Hmm, maybe someone needs to address this."

She also alleged Kane had abandoned her, their one-year-old daughter and unborn son while going on a vacation in Europe, per Al-Khateeb.

The NHL immediately announced an investigation into the gambling allegations:

NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL

We intend to conduct a full investigation and will have no further comment at this time. (2/2)

Kane also posted a pair of statements on Twitter addressing the allegations he bet on the NHL and had abandoned his family:

Evander Kane @evanderkane_9

<a href="https://t.co/CgkRgD8vT2">pic.twitter.com/CgkRgD8vT2</a>

In March, Daniel Kaplan and Kevin Kurz of The Athletic reported Kane and the Sharks informed a federal bankruptcy court that terminating his seven-year, $49 million contract that runs through the 2024-25 season was an option as part of his bankruptcy proceedings, an idea that met sharp resistance from his creditors.

The 30-year-old Canadian's court filings showed debts of $26.8 million and assets of $10.2 million, according to The Athletic.

Kane told Cohn he sought treatment for his gambling addiction, which helped him understand "gambling can't continue to live with me":

"When you have a problem, sometimes you can't control your decision-making at that time. I think that was an example of my problem getting the better of me. I had a gambling problem. And when you have a gambling problem, just like a drinking problem or a drug problem, sometimes you can't control your actions.
"I think part of the worst thing that ever happened to me was winning big, because you think you can do it again. When you're an athlete, the competitive juices are flowing. And then when you lose, it even bothers you even more. You just keep digging a deeper hole. At the end of the day, it's something that I went through and I'm looking forward to moving [on]."

Kane also addressed questions about his off-ice reputation after he was investigated twice by police in 2016 following allegations of assault while playing for the Buffalo Sabres. No charges were brought after the first allegation and he reached a plea agreement in the second case, which led to charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct and harassment being dropped after he completed the terms of the agreement, per ESPN.

The veteran forward told Cohn none of the allegations levied against him were true:

"I'm in a white sport [and] I'm a Black player. I have a big personality that maybe sometimes rubs people the wrong way—but it's not meant to. I think unfortunately a lot of the issues I've had and the allegations that have been made about me are just completely not true. I'm not looking for people [to] feel sorry for me. That's the last thing I need. I'm not looking for people to feel bad for me. I'm just asking to be treated fairly and judged accordingly."

Kane was voted the Sharks' Player of the Year following the 2020-21 season after leading the team in goals (22), assists (27) and points (49).

Along with San Jose and Buffalo, he's also played for the Atlanta Thrashers and Winnipeg Jets across a 12-year NHL career.