Evander Kane opens up about past gambling problems amid NHL investigation

San Jose Sharks star Evander Kane. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane says the gambling allegations made against him this summer are “incredibly false,” and believes he’ll be cleared upon conclusion of the NHL’s ongoing investigation.

“It’s unfortunate that that transpired, it’s unfortunate that those allegations — false allegations — were made,” Kane told ESPN‘s Linda Cohn in an interview that aired Thursday.

In July, Kane’s estranged wife, Anna Kane, came out with a series of public accusations against him, including allegations that he had bet on his own NHL games. Shortly after, the NHL announced the league was opening up an investigation into the matter. Kane denied the allegations at the time, with respect to his personal conduct and gambling, and re-iterated that stance during Thursday’s interview:

“Obviously, when [the allegations] happened, I understood the magnitude of them immediately, not knowing what was going to happen next. But confident, because I know that’s not true. I knew none of what she was saying was true,” Kane told Cohn of the accusations made. “I was very confident, comfortable with where I was, knowing that I was gonna be exonerated and am going to be exonerated of those allegations.”

Asked by Cohn whether Kane still gambled, Kane said he did not. Cohn also asked a series of pointed questions about his gambling history with respect to the NHL — particularly, whether he had ever bet on an NHL game or altered the way he played because of a bet — and he responded that he had not.

The NHL’s investigation into the matter is expected to be wrapped up before the start of training camp.

Kane admitted that he had dealt with a gambling problem, and opened up about how it affected his life. He said his decision to file for bankruptcy in January was the first step to “making some better decisions moving forward.”

“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,” said Kane, who also said he’d once gambled on the night before a playoff game.

“I think probably 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 bothers you even more and you want to go back … you just keep digging a deeper hole. But at the end of the day, it’s something that I went through and I’m looking forward to moving on from it.”

Kane was also asked about last month’s report out of The Athletic, which stated that “several” of Kane’s Sharks teammates did not want him to return to the team.

“I think it’s easy to point the finger at me. I think it’s easy to try to make me the scapegoat because of some of my personal issues that are playing out in the public, and point to that,” he told Cohn. “I think it’s an easy cop-out. At the same time, I don’t necessarily know or believe that that’s true.”

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.