By Terrance Turner
MAY 31, 2021
Edmonton Oilers player Evander Kane just scored the first goal of the playoff series between the Oilers and the Colorado Avalacnhe. Kane’s first-quarter score gave the Oilers an early 1-0 lead in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
Though the Oilers lost 8-6, the game still represents a major turnaround for Kane, who has been beset by personal challenges. In Nov. 2019, Kane was sued by the Cosmopolitan casino in Las Vegas over a $500,000 gambling debt that he allegedly failed to pay back. The cosmopolitan claimed it had extended gambling markers, which helped Kane access large sums of money to gamble with, that came in eight different installments, per CBS News. The casino dropped the lawsuit in 2020. But by then, Kane’s troubles were just beginning.
In January 2021, Kane filed for bankruptcy after amassing $26.8 million in debt (despite having signed a $49 millin contract extension with the San Jose Sharks in 2018). In July, his wife Anna filed for divorce. A month later, she revealed to the world that her husband had a gambling problem. In a scathing Instagram post, she wrote: “Can someone ask [NHL Commissioner] Gary Bettman how they let a player gamble on his own games?”
“So you leave July 8, do not text or call for 7 days, then you inform me you are going to Europe for a vacation,” she wrote. “But at the same time tell me our house is being taken by the bank but do not come home to help your pregnant wife pack or help her with anything […] You have enough money to party and stay in hotels in Europe [and] go to dinners every night, but I can’t buy my daughter formula and you force me to sell my wedding ring to have any money to survive as you party every day,” she wrote on Instagram Stories, accusing Kane of abandoning her and their infant daughter.
Kane denied the allegations on social media. “I have NEVER gambled/bet on hockey, NEVER gambled/bet on a Sharks game, and NEVER gambled/bet on any of my games, and NEVER thrown a hockey game,” he wrote on Twitter. He added: “I love the game of Hockey and would never do any of what was alleged. I look forward to cooperating fully with the league’s investigation, having my name cleared and looking forward to this upcoming season.”
The NHL did indeed investigate Kane, launching an investigation with Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, in conjunction with NHL Security. “The investigation uncovered no evidence to corroborate Ms. Kane’s accusations that Mr. Kane bet or otherwise participated in gambling on NHL games, and no evidence to corroborate the allegations that Mr. Kane ‘threw’ games or did not put forward his best effort to help the Sharks win games,” the NHL said in a statement. “To the contrary, the evidence raises doubts about the veracity of the allegations.”
In his Twitter post, Kane also addressed accuations about his parenting. “I love my daughter. I will and always have taken care of my daughter in every way possible,” Kane wrote. “I have always made sure her mother has had everything she’s needed and more. I have tried to de-escalate our divorce issues and be as civil and calm as anyone in this position could. I have tried to set up FaceTime calls and visits with her. I have had some FaceTime calls but not every day as I would like to because of being restricted by her mom. She has refused me to see her and has unfortunately tried to use my daughter as leverage. I will continue to always take care of my family; that goes without question.”
In September, Front Office Sports combed through the divorce proceedings and uncovered allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence. Kane denied the allegations and fired back with some of his own. In August, he filed for and received a restraining order after saying that Mrs. Kane had hit him during an argument in 2019, saying that Anna became so angry that she hit him “7-8 times in the face with her fist”.
In Oct. 2020, Evander says, Anna again struck him in the face after they had an argument while Anna’s mother was visiting. Less than a year later, in April 2021, his wife exploded on him again, he claimed, after she had gone through his phone. In the restraining order documents, he claimed Anna “started uncontrollably throwing things at me” … before she punched and slapped him repeatedly in the head and face.
In August 2021, Evander Kane was granted a temporary restraining order against his estranged wife. The order stated that Anna Kane cannot be within 300 feet of Evander Kane or their one-year-old daughter, according to San Jose Hockey Now. In December 2021, Kane was granted sole custody of his daughter Kensington. By then, he’d reconciled with model Mara Teigen, whom he’d dated before getting married.
After being traded from the San Jose Sharks, Kane landed on the Edmonton Oilers. In 12 playoff games with the Oilers, Kane scored 15 points. He had two hat tricks, becoming the first Oiler since Jari Kurri in 1985 to have multiple hat tricks in the same post-season. (A hat trick is when a hockey player scores three goals within a single game.)
On May 25, Teigen gave birth to their son. On May 26, he helped the Oilers win the first post-season Battle of Alberta in 31 years. Tonight, he scored the very first goal of the the playoff series against Colorado. Kane told Global News that he’s enjoying the ride.
“It’s been awesome. Big week for my family — having my son. It’s obviously been great with the team success we’re having to couple those two things,” said Kane. “It’s been a real enjoyable last couple of weeks. We just want to do everything in our power to keep this thing going.”