The Hockey Diversity Alliance announced on Tuesday that San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane is on voluntary leave as the National Hockey League investigates allegations made against him that he bet on NHL games, including against his own team.
"The Hockey Diversity Alliance is aware of the allegations against our colleague and friend Evander Kane and find them troubling," the group, which was formed in 2020 to tackle racism and intolerance in hockey, tweeted in a statement. "We take these accusations very seriously and we are committed to learning the truth.
"We fully believe in due process and fully respect the privacy of Mr. Kane and his family. In the meantime, Mr. Kane is on voluntary leave as an HDA board member as to not distract from our mission to eradicate systemic racism and intolerance in hockey."
On Sunday, Kane denied the allegations his wife Anna made on social media from her Instagram account.
“I have NEVER gambled/bet on Hockey, NEVER gambled/bet on a Sharks game, NEVER gambled/bet on any of my games and NEVER thrown a hockey game,” he wrote on Twitter. "The facts are I personally had my best season of the my career last year and was the most consistent I’ve been throughout any season, I’m proud of that. 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 said Saturday night that it was made aware of the social media posts from Anna Kane and plans to conduct a full investigation.
Anna Kane wrote: “How does the NHL let a compulsive gambling addict still play when he’s obviously throwing games to win money? Hmm maybe someone needs to address this.”
She added: “Can someone ask (commissioner) Gary Bettman how they let a player gamble on his own games? Bet and win with bookies on his own games?”
In a separate post, Anna Kane accused her husband of spending lavishly partying in Europe while asking her to sell her wedding ring to survive and wrote about not being able to afford baby formula for their child.
Evander Kane said the two are in the process of getting a divorce and called Anna Kane “mentally unwell.”
“I love my daughter,” he wrote. “I will and always have taken care of my daughter in every way possible. 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 but not every day as I would like to because of being restricted by her mom. She has refused me to see her and had unfortunately tried to use my daughter as leverage. I will continue to always take care of my family, that goes without question.”
Anna Kane later responded on Instagram that she offered to give Kane time to see his daughter alone but said Kane declined.
The NHL said: “The integrity of our game is paramount and the League takes these allegations very seriously.”
A team spokesman wrote in an email to The Associated Press that: “The San Jose Sharks have been in contact today with the National Hockey League about the serious allegations made against Evander Kane. We support a full and transparent investigation into the situation to maintain the integrity of the game and consistency with our team values.”
Kane’s gambling history and finances have been public knowledge for some time. A Las Vegas Strip casino sued Kane in 2019, alleging he failed to repay a $500,000 gambling debt racked up during a playoff series against the Golden Knights.
Reached by email before the league’s announcement, deputy commissioner Bill Daly said that only a statement would be released at this time. The league said it would not make any further comments.
Kane, who turned 30 on Monday, is three seasons into a $49 million, seven-year contract. He’s with his third organization after being drafted by and debuting with Atlanta/Winnipeg and a stint in Buffalo. According to Capfriendly, he has made just under $56 million during his NHL career.
Last season, the Vancouver native had 22 goals and 27 assists in 56 games.Files from The Associated Press were used for this report.