San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane admitted to having a gambling problem, but categorically denied the claims made by his estranged wife in the summer that he had bet on his own games.
While calling his wife's statements "incredibly false," the 30-year-old Vancouver native told ESPN's Linda Cohn that his gambling sometimes affected his judgment.
"It was a big part of my life for quite a number of years," Kane told Cohn of his gambling, noting that he has "never" bet on his own games. "It’s something that I would say that I definitely had a problem with at certain points throughout those years – at certain times more than others.”
Kane cited a 2019 postseason game against the Vegas Golden Knights as a time when his problem affected his judgment. In a 5-0 Game 4 loss in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs, Kane accrued 16 minutes in penalties, including a 10-minute misconduct.
"I gambled the night before a playoff game," Kane said. "I wasn’t supposed to be doing it, did it and obviously didn’t do very well that evening. But when you have a problem, sometimes you can’t control your decision-making at that time. And I think that was an example of my problem getting the better of me. I had a gambling problem. And when you have a gambling problem, just like a drinking problem or drug problem, sometimes you can’t control your actions."
Being an athlete only exacerbated the problem, Kane explained.
"I think probably the worst thing ever to happen to me was winning big because you think you can do it again," Kane said. "When you’re an athlete, the competitive juices are flowing, and when you loser, 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 also admitted that poor decision-making was what led to the need to declare bankruptcy earlier in the year.
"Obviously, there were some bad decisions made by myself, financially, for different reasons," Kane said. "You don’t get into that situation without making a few of those and realize that I need to start making better decisions moving forward. Filing for bankruptcy was the first step in that direction."
He also says he regrets how public some of his personal business has become.
"Unfortunately, more than I would have liked, some of it has been public," Kane said. "At the same time, I think, it’s about how you deal with it. I could sit here and feel sorry for myself, buy into the outside noise and I’m choosing not to do that and focus on what I can control. And for me, so far, that’s proven to be successful.”
As for the allegations made by his estranged wife, Anna, Kane said the situation was regrettable, but says he will ultimately be exonerated.
"It’s unfortunate that that transpired," Kane said. "It’s unfortunate that those allegations – false allegations – were made. Obviously, when they happened, I understood the magnitude of them immediately, not knowing what was going to happen next. But [I was] confident] because I know that’s not true, none of what she was saying was true and I was very confident, comfortable knowing where I was and was going to be exonerated of those allegations."
An NHL investigation into Kane's conduct remains ongoing.
Kane is set to embark on his 13th NHL season next month.