SAN JOSE -- An NHL interview rarely ever begins with this response.
“I’ll be honest with you, I don’t even know why I’m talking about this guy,” Sharks winger Evander Kane said.
“This guy” is Vegas Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves, who famously exchanged words and tweets with Kane during the teams’ first-round Stanley Cup playoff series. That animosity faded into the summer -- and seemed to be temporarily extinguished -- until Reaves recently proclaimed himself “Kane’s worst nightmare” while officiating a Las Vegas wedding, of all things.
“I think it’s great, I think it’s fun,” Kane said of the banter. “I enjoy it -- I’m sure he does, too. I think hockey needs more of that. It creates more entertainment value, more build-up.”
Kane also cleared some air about the longstanding “rivalry” Reaves has been proclaiming.
“I don’t remember him, I don’t remember our earlier NHL days,” Kane said. “I wouldn’t have went up against him. I’m not a fighter -- he is. I score goals, he scores once every 50 games. I don’t understand the comparison in this rivalry.”
While “chirps” are standard fare in hockey, Kane also recently took to social media in challenging a serious topic: lack of diversity in the sport. Furthermore, he shared some of the comments he occasionally receives as one of the league’s few black players.
“It’s not always straight-out, blunt racist remarks. Let’s be clear on that,” Kane said. “It’s the underlying tones of what’s written, what’s said. How things are being perceived. Whether people realize it or not, it’s a problem.”
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Kane is 10 years deep into his NHL career, and said he simply now feels more comfortable to address an issue he’s been living through during the entire career.
“Coming to San Jose has really allowed me to be myself, and I feel comfortable talking about these things,” Kane said. “And if it’s not me, who else is it going to be?”