Published by hockeybuzz.com, 12-21-2017
Evander Kane threw a party at a fine dining establishment onWednesday night. He and his special guests got together at Tempo on Delaware Avenue for a Christmas gathering.
Fifty underprivileged kids from King Center Charter School were invited to dine with the Sabres winger who was more than happy to treat them to some cheer. "There's a lot of kids that aren't as fortunate as others," said the 26-year old, via the Buffalo News yesterday. "When Christmas time comes around, the gifts, the presents and all that go into it, some kids don't get to experience that. I'm fortunate enough to be able to provide an opportunity to help some kids that are less fortunate and wouldn't be able to experience those things."
It was the second time in three years that Kane opened up his heart and wallet to the less fortunate in the Buffalo area. Back in 2015 he treated 50 kids to dinner at Chef's before taking them on $10,000 shopping spree at Target. Said the Vancouver, B.C native at the time, "Not everybody gets an opportunity, especially as a kid, to get exactly what they want or have an opportunity to get gifts and presents,” Kane said. “It’s something that I wanted to do, give back a little bit and hopefully put some smiles on some kids’ faces, possibly when they have not been as excited for Christmas.
“It’s exciting. It probably makes my day more than theirs."
For those who've followed him and his travails in Winnipeg when he played with, was ostracized and traded by the Jets, it's a rather unexpected side we see of him. Especially when with visions of the him and his "Money Phone" blocking our view.
It's not just Christmas either. This past September, Kane delivered some pizza's to those in need in East Vancouver, where he grew up and tweeted simply, “Decided to take some lunch to the very appreciative people of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside"
Kane is having a career year in Buffalo this season and with deeds like the aforementioned, his image seems to be changing as well. He may have had this type of generosity within him before and may have shown it on occasion, but whatever good he may have done got overshadowed by off-ice issues that have plagued him since his Winnipeg days.
Matt Larkin of The Hockey News did an extensive piece on Kane and how he's found a home in Buffalo and how he has teammates that accept him for what he is. "The media is going to say what they want and he’s got a personality with him," said teammate and frequent linemate, Sam Reinhart in the article. "you’ve got to embrace that. I enjoy being around it. It’s fun.”
Reinhart was one of a trio that include Jack Eichel and Zach Bogosian who bought Kane a bottle of King Louie Cognac in honor of his 500th game. "Ever try to buy a bottle of Louis XIII?" asked Larkin rhetorically. "Don’t, unless you’ve recently won the lottery. It will set you back $3,000, give or take."
It's not the fact that those three players have more than enough money to buy cases of expensive cognac, it was the act itself, the knowledge of the player and his tastes and their appreciation of him as a teammate and friend. Lest we forget, in his first game back in Winnipeg since they traded him away, Kane had an empty net to shoot at with Buffalo ahead, but he opted to feed a wide-open Reinhart for the rookie's first NHL hat trick, something that went counter to his selfish persona.
Kane is in the final year of his deal and no matter how much he likes Buffalo and his teammates, he's set up for a pretty big payday at the end of the season. “You’ve got to live in reality,” he said, via the Larkin piece. “This is my ninth year in the league. I’m very aware that, as much as it’s a game, No. 1, it’s always a business. It’s always about money. You see that with lockouts and CBA negotiations and player holdouts. That’s why you have an agent, to make you aware of your options, your possibilities that may happen and what goes on during or after a season."
Does that mean he'll completely cash in his services to the highest bidder? He may and no one could blame him. That's how the business of sports works.
No matter what happens, what we've witnessed in Buffalo first hand is a side of Kane that not very many people have been exposed to. Whether we've witnessed a Saul to Paul transformation is yet to be determined, but a bunch of underprivileged kids were treated to some good eats, and some treats and it will be something they'll never forget.