A firm that the NHL hired was unable to find any evidence of Evander Kane betting on league games.
That doesn’t necessarily mean San Jose Sharks fans will see him attacking nets in the 2021-22 season. In fact, Kane might still not appear on any NHL team’s active roster soon.
While the NHL considers the matter of whether Kane improperly influenced games due to gambling interests a closed matter, the cliché of out of the frying pan and into the fryer applies here. Right now, the Sharks are moving ahead without him.
Zero proof of Evander Kane betting on hockey
Public details are scant, but the Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP investigation turned up zero proof of Kane being involved in any gambling tied to NHL games. The investigation began after Kane’s wife, Deanna, made allegations that Kane not only bet on hockey games but also on games he himself took part in.
A statement from the NHL said the investigation’s findings cast doubt on those allegations. It’s the best-case scenario at this point for the league. Had the firm produced evidence that Kane bet on NHL contests, even ones he did not play in, it would have produced a commercial and public-relations nightmare.
The NHL has gone on the power play with legal gambling since the fall of PASPA. The first in-stadium retail sportsbook in North America (Caesars Sportsbook at the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, D.C.) counts an NHL franchise (Capitals) among its tenants.
The NHL was also party to a letter encouraging the recent legalization of single-event wagering in Canada. The league has active sponsorship deals with BetMGM and PointsBet. At this time, five other individual franchises have similar partnerships in place.
Any player betting on league games would strain those relationships and harm consumer confidence in the product. While this matter seemingly turned out for the best, Kane is still in hot water with both the league and the Sharks.
Kane’s status with Sharks uncertain moving forward
Earlier this week, the league announced it has opened another, unrelated investigation. According to the league, those are over “unrelated allegations of potential wrongdoing that were brought to the league’s attention.”
Front Office Sports reported that Deanne Kane filed for a restraining order against Evander. She accuses him of committing both domestic violence and sexual assault on her person. To date, no prosecutors have filed any charges against Evander and no court has granted the request for a protective order.
As far as the NHL’s investigation goes, however, that’s just information. The league’s rules allow Commissioner Gary Bettman to suspend players even if they do not receive criminal charges. It also seems while this new investigation proceeds, the Sharks are keeping Kane at fins’ length.
“The Sharks are aware of additional allegations that are unrelated to the National Hockey League’s initial investigation of Evander Kane,” the team said. “We take the allegations very seriously and have been in communication with the NHL. The league will continue to have our full cooperation regarding the ongoing investigation.”
As a result, Kane will not take part in any organized team activities “until further notice.” That notice might come much further. Reports surfaced earlier this offseason that Kane’s Sharks teammates would prefer to see the franchise trade him.
The gambling investigation turned out well for both Kane and the NHL. If the new investigation produces a different result, it could mean the end of Kane’s time in San Jose if not the league altogether.