CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Chicago Blackhawks right winger Patrick Kane will be featured on one of two regional covers of this week's Sports Illustrated.
The cover story, written by SI Senior Writer S.L. Price, chronicles the rise of Kane, from his emergence as a child prodigy to his dominance as the NHL’s leading scorer at age 27.
Price also discusses the sexual assault allegations that consumed Kane’s off-season and how he has played through the scrutiny to turn in one of the best seasons of his career.
SI also spoke with Blackhawks president John McDonough, owner Rocky Wirtz, Rangers defenseman RyanMcDonough, Panthers GM Dale Tallon and more.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM SI INTERVIEW W/ KANE:
Patrick Kane tells SI his confidence on the ice hasn’t wavered since he was young: “I’ve always had that confidence in myself—especially when I’m playing… Maybe even off the ice, early in my career, where sometimes it could come across as cockiness. But that’s just how it was: even with my size, I was never really happy if I didn’t score, if I didn’t produce points in a hockey game. At any level.”
On answering questions about the investigation, Kane says: “I don’t even think I’m supposed to: That’s the thing… There’s been plenty of times that I’ve wanted to defend myself in the whole situation, but it’s kind of in the past now. I’m just looking forward to moving on from everything.”
On his accuser foregoing criminal proceedings, Kane admits: “Obviously it was good news.”
On the NHL’s continuing investigation into the allegations, Kane divulges: “Whatever they need [from me], I’m here for them."
Kane speaks to SI on his success this season following the criminal investigation: “Guys’ll say, ‘He’s been scared straight’, but I almost feel like I owe it to other people now… Especially the Hawks’ organization, my family, my friends and the people who really supported me and believed in me.”
On facing hometown resentment in Buffalo, Kane tells SI: “I guess that’s just the way it is… Maybe because I left Buffalo, maybe because I didn’t really grow up in Buffalo so much, maybe because I don’t play for the Sabres. But it’s my home: I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart.”
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SI COVER STORY:
Blackhawks president John McDonough speaks to SI about the evolution of Patrick Kane in response to the criminal allegations he has faced: “I think that there is a maturation process that is taking place right now with Patrick… The events over this past summer probably opened his eyes to a lot of things, and he recognizes how difficult this was on all of us—not just his family—but all of us here within this organization. Because we really do feel that this is a special, special place, and he’s at the epicenter of it.”
On reports that he was “volcanic” about the rape allegation news and that Blackhawks management was considering a future without Kane, McDonough tells SI: “Complete b.s. But this was not a fun summer for me.”
Teammate Blake Geoffrion on Kane’s turnaround following the rape allegation: “That was the biggest wake-up call… We all think that we have the world by the balls and can do anything we want and everything’s going to be hunky-dory. Then something happens where we’re like, Holy s---, I really am that lucky—whether it’s, simply, that we can actually walk, or that we can play at the level that Kaner plays in the NHL. And when I texted him—‘Hey, you just got to learn from this’—that’s what I meant. And I think he knew.”
Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz defends the decision to keep Kane despite criminal accusations set against him: “There were facts that we knew that were told to us—but hadn’t been made public—and that’s when we made our decision… We believed Patrick when he said he didn’t do anything. With the supporting facts around it, we took him at his word—and rightfully so, I think.
Brett Bennett, a long-time teammate of Kane’s growing up, on the city of Buffalo’s tension with Kane after the rape allegation: “I think a lot of that was in the building at that time—a lot of resentment… Like, This kid is given the world, and it seems like every six months to a year something new comes up where he’s doing something. Have some respect. Respect your town, respect yourself, respect your family. Buffalo’s a small town, there’s only so many athletes, and it just seems repetitive. Whether it’s true or not, it keeps happening.”
Panthers GM Dale Tallon on the impact the rape allegations had on Kane: “I think this was a really valuable lesson for Patrick… It scared the s--- out of him. I think he’ll take it as a positive.”
Tallon— the former Chicago GM who drafted Kane— speaks to Kane’s talent: “I’ve never seen hands like this… The puck seems to stick to his blade, you know? But Patrick’s kind of a new deal for me: Got a little bit of Savvy, a little bit of Gretzky, a bit of Jaromir Jagr. He’s a hybrid.”
USA Hockey’s former head of National Team Development Program Ken Martel speaks to passing on Patrick Kane: “Look, we’re the dummies that didn’t put him on the team right away… But Pat’s different. He just believed he was going to be. I think he surprised everybody.”