Evander Kane (born August 2, 1991) is a Canadian professional ice hockey left wing with the Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League (NHL). Selected fourth overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Thrashers, he was drafted from the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
During his major junior career, he won the Memorial Cup with the Giants in 2007, finished as runner-up for the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as WHL rookie of the year in 2008 and was named to the WHL West First All-Star Team in2009. Kane also set the Giants’ franchise record for single-season goals in 2008–09.
Kane was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, on August 2, 1991, to Perry and Sheri Kane, who named him after American boxer Evander Holyfield (he later met Holyfield at age 18). Kane has two sisters, Brea and Kyla, who are two and four years younger, respectively.
Coming from an athletic lineage, his father was an amateur boxer and hockey player. He played with the Cole Harbour Scotia Colts and Dartmouth Arrows of the Metro Valley Junior Hockey League (MVJHL) in Nova Scotia, as well as with St. Francis Xavier University. Kane’s mother was a professional volleyball player. His uncle, Leonard Kane, is a member of the Canadian Ball Hockey Hall of Fame. Kane’s cousin, Dwayne Provo, played in the Canadian Football League (CFL) for seven years and spent one season with the New England Patriots of the National Football League(NFL). Another cousin, Kirk Johnson, boxed for Canada at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and later foughtJohn Ruiz for the 2007 World Boxing Association (WBA) Heavyweight title.
Growing up in East Vancouver, Kane attended high school at John Oliver Secondary. In addition to hockey, he played baseball, basketball and soccer growing up. After beginning to skate at the age of three, he began playing minor hockey at eight. His father instructed him in his early years and initially wanted to keep him out of organized hockey until Kane was ten. At fourteen-years-old, Kane recorded 140 points in 66 games with the bantam North Shore Winter Club, followed by a 22-goal, 54-point campaign to finish fourth in league scoring with the Greater Vancouver Canadians of the BC Hockey Major Midget League (BCMML). Kane also played minor hockey with the Vancouver Thunderbirds, prior to bantam and midget.
Vancouver Giants (2006–09)
Kane was drafted 19th overall in the 2006 WHL Bantam Draft by the Vancouver Giants and immediately played eight games for the Giants in the 2006–07 season. He received his first WHL call-up for a game against the Seattle Thunderbirds on December 13, 2006, due to other Giants players international commitments in the World Junior Championships. Kane scored his first WHL goal, a game-tying marker, on March 25, 2007, the last game of the regular season. He also suited up for five WHL post-season games, being originally called up for the playoffs after Giants forward Tim Kraus was suspended for game three of the opening round. He later appeared in two Memorial Cup games, tallying an assist, as part of the Giants’ 2007 Memorial Cup championship. Kane’s gritty play (he accumulated 150 penalty minutes in 30 games during midget) earned him an early comparison to Darcy Tucker from Giants head coach Don Hay, who had coached Tucker as a junior with the Kamloops Blazers.
Set to begin his rookie campaign with the Giants the following season, Kane experienced a minor setback as he was forced to miss the start of training camp with a case of mononucleosis. He nevertheless recovered and joined the Giants full-time to tally 24 goals – third in team scoring – and 41 points in his first WHL season. Finishing tenth in rookie scoring, he was nominated for the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as league rookie of the year, which was awarded to Brayden Schenn of the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Kane emerged with an impressive start to the 2008–09 season, registering at least a point in each of his first 22 games. After recording his first WHL hat-trick on October 10, 2008, against the Kelowna Rockets, he was named WHL Player of the Week on October 12, succeeding linemate Casey Pierro-Zabotel who had been chosen the previous week. Shortly thereafter, the WHL selected Kane to represent the league at the 2008 ADT Canada-Russia Challenge. However, due to a bruised heel suffered on November 15 in a game against the Kelowna Rockets, Kane was not able to compete for Team WHL. Kane recovered and earned a spot as an injury replacement at the 2009 World Junior Championships with Team Canada. Upon returning with a gold medal, Kane was named player of the week for the second time in the season on January 12, 2009, after scoring six points in two games immediately following the World Juniors. Later that month, he participated in the 2009 CHL Top Prospects Game ascaptain for Team Cherry.
He finished his second WHL season with 48 goals and 96 points, fourth in league scoring. He surprassed Adam Courchaine‘s team record of 43 goals in a single season, set in 2002–03. Second in team scoring to Pierro-Zabotel’s 115 points, the linemates finished one-two in all-time Giants’ single-season scoring as Pierro-Zabotel and Kane both surpassed Gilbert Brulé‘s previous 87-point mark. Kane received WHL West First Team All-Star honours along with teammates Pierro-Zabotel and Jonathon Blum. In the subsequent 2009 playoffs, after the Giants swept the Prince George Cougars in the first round, Kane scored a double-overtime game-winner to force a seventh game in the second round against the Spokane Chiefs. After eliminating the Chiefs in the seventh game, the Giants were then defeated by the Kelowna Rockets in six games in the semi-finals. In 17 post-season games, Kane accumulated 15 points.
Preliminary rankings by NHL Central Scouting Services (CSS) listed Kane as the second-best draft-eligible WHL skater, behind Spokane Chiefs defenceman Jared Cowen for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. International Scouting Services (ISS) ranked Kane at eighth overall among all draft-eligible skaters. Following Kane’s performance at the 2009 World Junior Championships, he rose to third overall among North American skaters, behind John Tavares and Matt Duchene, and first in the WHL in the NHL CSS’s midseason and final rankings. Accordingly, Kane was selected by the NHL CSS as the WHL’s nominee for the CHL Top Draft Prospect Award (the award was given to Tavares, the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) nominee). Leading up to the 2009 draft, the ISS listed Kane fifth overall in their April rankings.
After Tavares, Victor Hedman and Duchene were taken with the top three picks in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Kane was selected fourth overall by the Atlanta Thrashers. He became the highest drafted born-and-raised player from Vancouver since Paul Kariya was taken fourth overall in 1993 (Barry Beck was the highest at second overall in 1977), the highest drafted Vancouver Giants player in the history of the franchise (surpassing Gilbert Brulé, who was drafted sixth overall in 2005). and the highest drafted black player in NHL history. Less than a month later, the Thrashers signed Kane to an entry-level contract on July 20, 2009.
Kane made the Thrashers’ lineup out of his first NHL training camp for the 2009–10 season. He recorded his first career NHL point in his debut on October 3, 2009, earning an assist on a goal by Rich Peverley against the Tampa Bay Lightning. His first goal was scored five days later, on October 8, beating Chris Mason with a snap shot in a 4–2 win over the St. Louis Blues. He played his first NHL game in his hometown a couple months later in an away game against the Vancouver Canucks on December 10. Kane had a near-goal go to review as the Thrashers lost 4–2. He suffered a left foot injury late in his rookie season, blocking a shot during a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 6, 2010. A CT scan three days later revealed a bone fracture. He missed 15 games before returning to the lineup on April 3. Playing in the Thrashers’ last game of the season on April 10, he was challenged to a fight byPittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke. Kane landed two punches to Cooke’s jaw, knocking him unconscious on the ice for several minutes. Kane finished his NHL rookie campaign with 14 goals and 26 points in 66 games, ranked 12th among first-year point-scorers.
Kane suffered several minor injuries during his second NHL season in 2010–11 season. During a game against theColorado Avalanche on November 30, 2010, Kane suffered a left knee injury after he was struck by a shot from teammate Tobias Enstrom; he missed two games. The following month, he missed one game due to an arm injury, sustained during a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 7. In January 2011, he missed an additional six games due to a lower-body injury. Kept from the lineup for a total nine games, Kane increased his points total to 43 with 19 goals and 24 assists. He ranked fifth in team point-scoring – third among forward behind captain Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little.
During the off-season, the Thrashers franchise was bought and relocated by True North Sports and Entertainment, becoming the Winnipeg Jets. Kane expressed excitement at the move and being able to play in a Canadian hockey market with a passionate fanbase. Although the previous incarnation of the Jets represented a separate franchise (the team became the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996), the team had retired the number 9 jersey in honour of Bobby Hull. In preparation of the move to Winnipeg, Kane made it apparent to the media that he would personally ask for Hull’s permission to continue wearing the number he had worn as a Thrasher.
Kane was enjoying a successful first season as a Jet, leading his team in scoring with 18 goals and 31 points by mid-January 2012. During that month, however, he was sidelined with a concussion that was reported on January 21.Following a seven-game absence, Kane returned to the lineup early the next month. He then told reporters that he had been playing through concussion-like symptoms for a month since receiving a hit during a game against the New York Islanders on December 20, 2011.  Later in the season, he recorded a four-point game (two goals and two assists) in a 7–0 win against the Florida Panthers on March 1, 2012.
|Competitor for Canada|
|World Junior Championships|
|Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament|
Coming off his rookie season of major junior, Kane competed in the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, capturing gold with Canada’s under-18 team. He totalled four points in four games, including an assist in the 6–3 gold medal game win against Russia. Later that year, Kane was invited to Team Canada‘s selection camp for the 2009 World Junior Championships along with teammate Tyson Sexsmith. Although he was not initially named to the final roster, a knee injury to Dana Tyrell in tournament exhibition play made a roster spot available and Kane was chosen as his replacement. As the youngest player on the team, Kane contributed six points in six games, helping Canada to a fifth straight gold medal with a 5–1 victory over Sweden in the final.
Following his rookie season in the NHL, Kane was named to the Canadian men’s team for the 2010 IIHF World Championship in Germany. General manager Mark Messier made a specific effort to assemble a young team; as a result, Kane was one of five teenagers on the roster. He finished the tournament with two goals and two assists in seven games. Canada was eliminated in the quarterfinal by Russia and finished in seventh place.
The following year, Kane returned to the national team for the 2011 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia. Kane recorded two assists over seven games as Canada suffered a second consecutive defeat in the quarterfinal to Russia.