On the ice, Evander Kane has been having one of the most productive seasons of his career.
Off of it, the San Jose Sharks forward has experienced several life-changing events over the past year that have shaped his life and career moving forward.
He opened up about both in a personal, in-depth interview with Ryan S. Clark of The Athletic. In it, Kane said that filing for bankruptcy earlier this year — and seeing that news made public — actually brought relief.
"Yes, it’s been stressful to deal with a lot of the bankruptcy. It’s definitely been stressful. But it was a relief because I didn’t have to try and hide it anymore. I didn’t have to try to pretend. It was a big weight off my shoulders in a way," Kane told Clark.
Kane filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 9.
"For years, I was dealing with all these things. It’s having that constant stress. Everybody has stress. But once I made that decision (to file for bankruptcy), people think it is the start of something. Really, it’s the end of this chapter of my life. I think that is where the big misconception is about this," he said, calling the decision to file "the best decision I have made in a long time."
The Sharks were among the seven teams not included in the NHL's return-to-play extended post-season last summer. Kane said the extended time at home amid COVID quarantine protocols brought the opportunity to reflect, and the arrival of daughter Kensington (now 10 months old) was a major driving force in his decision to file.
"Having my daughter was a huge, life-changing moment. That gets you to think about what you need to do. Not only as a man, but as a father to be able to make the best decisions for your family moving forward," Kane said. "For me, it was taking it on the chin. It was knowing I had to make a decision that was the best for me and my family that would also not be the most flattering publicly. It took me a while, I think, to come to terms with my situation."
At the time of his filing, there was also some speculation that he might consider opting out of the 2020-21 campaign. While the season brought hurdles for the Sharks, who spent a chunk of the year in Arizona after not being permitted to play in California due to COVID restrictions, Kane played some of the best hockey of his career. His 22 goals, a career-high 27 assists, and 49 points through 55 games in this shortened season had him on pace for personal bests across the board had this been a full 82-game season.
"It was something that was a weight off my back. You’ve kind of seen it with my on-ice play, that is maybe part of the motivation. It is wanting to show people that I’ve been dealing with so much for so long. Nobody has had any idea about it. Maybe you’ve heard things. But nobody truly knows what I’ve been dealing with or what I’ve dealt with," he said.
"To have a lot of that removed and off my plate, it allowed me to focus on hockey and finally, actually enjoy coming to the rink and getting on the ice with my teammates and playing the game at a high level. It was enjoyable for the first time in a long time."