Former Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane has finally opened up on the ongoing investigation into his gambling and most notably his potential sports-betting involvement with his own professional hockey team, the San Jose Sharks.
Sitting down in an interview with ESPN’s Linda Cohn, Kane did admit to having a “gambling problem” but spoke firmly against the accusations of throwing games or his involvement in NHL sports-betting.
“Obviously they are incredibly false,” Kane said of the accusations put in place by his now estranged wife. “It’s unfortunate that transpired, and it’s unfortunate that those false allegations were made. I understood the magnitude of them immediately. I know they were 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.”
In late-July Anna Kane posted a series of Instagram stories throwing Kane under the bus in terms of child care, his lack of parenting and most notably his gambling issues. She wrote, “How does the NHL let a compulsive gambling addict still play when he’s obviously throwing games to win money?”
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly recently said that the investigation is nearing its completion and the results should be made available prior to the NHL opening its training camps league-wide next weekend.
“I think part of the worst thing that ever happened to me was winning big, because you think you can do it again,” Kane said. “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 from.”
Back in January, Kane filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in California, placing a filings of $26.8 million, stating a monthly earnings of -$91,131.10 and six open lawsuits. One lawsuit is a countersuit Kane has filed against the woman who claimed battery against him in 2016. However, all other suits do not work in his favour. They include two lawsuits from banks, one from his former agency, a loan broker as well as a casino.
“When you have a problem, sometimes you can’t control your decision-making at that time,” Kane said. “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.
The majority of Kane’s losses can be tied to various stints of high-levels of gambling. One debt from the past calendar year indicates a $1.5 million loss. Breaking down his most recent suit from Centennial Bank (to which Kane owes $8.9 million) he is out $7.8 million in principal, another $500K in interest, and roughly $90K in bank fees. His bankruptcy fillings showcase three homes within his assets, to the tune of $10.2 million. Adding to that is his list of seven dependents, including his newborn daughter.
“There’s a reason that I was able to continue playing hockey,” Kane said in his interview with Cohn. “It was business as usual for me, outside of the fact that I had to deal with all this outside noise, knowing that I didn’t do anything wrong. Could I have maybe made better decisions? Maybe not meeting these people or not putting myself in that situation. You live and learn. But in terms of doing actually anything wrong, I knew that wasn’t the case. So again, that’s where I find my comfort, and really have been able to continue to do my job to the best of my ability.”
Despite beginning his NHL career at the ripe age of 17 with the then Atlanta Thrashers, Kane followed the team to Manitoba, where the first reports of unrest began. Following six seasons with the Thrashers/Jets franchise, Kane was sent packing to Buffalo in trade that saw Winnipeg earn the right to select Jack Roslovic.
He spent three seasons with the Sabres before being dealt to San Jose, where he has since signed a monster seven-year, $49 million deal to remain a Shark through the 2024-25 NHL season. He is under contract for four more years in San Jose and led the team with 49 points in 56 games last season. He owns a modified no-trade clause, to which he can only be dealt to three pre-determined teams of his own choosing.
In his 11-year career, Kane is estimated to have earned $56 million. He is still somehow $26.8 million in debt.