In the fall of 2009, Patrick Kane and the rest of the Chicago Blackhawks started their Stanley Cup-winning season in Switzerland. Kane enjoyed the time over there, as well as the early boost he got for his game.
Now hell try to do the same thing over there during the NHL lockout.
Kane will head to Switzerland on Sunday, as he signed with the EHC Biel squad on Tuesday. Kane is the fifth Blackhawks player to sign with an overseas team although just the second North American one, with Bryan Bickell heading to Austria earlier this month. Kane chose Biel over offers from Russian and Swedish teams.
Its a chance to go back to where the Cup season began, and to be hockey ready for whenever this lockout ends.
Starting there a few years ago, it jump-started me to the season I had, Kane said after Wednesdays practice. I think its a good league for me, a fast league on big ice. From what Ive seen, a lot of NHL players have gone over there. So itll be nice to play some games, try to work on my skills a little bit.
Jonathan Toews wishes Kane well but isnt ready to make his move overseas yet.
Im not going to be quick to pull a Kane, he said with a smile. Im sure hes excited to get some games in, not that were not taking advantage of working hard here (at practice). When the time comes to make a decision like that, well see.
Boston Bruins left wing Tyler Seguin is already playing for EHC Bien; Kane said hes been told that he and Seguin could play on the same line.
Kanes contract is the standard for most lockout players as soon as the lockout ends, hell head back here. He contract isnt for a crazy amount of money, basically just enough to cover his insurance for playing there.
Kane wont be going to Switzerland alone, as his mom will join him on the trip. Kanes parents, especially his dad, spend a good amount of time in Chicago during the hockey seasons.
I was going to bring dad but I got a text from (my mother) this morning, Its just me and you. He cant do the nine-hour ride, Kane said. Im sure hell try to watch every game he can. I dont know if shell be there the whole time, but shell go over and help me get settled in.
As for ifwhen any other teammates join him in Europe, Kane said hes not sure.
Theyre interested to see why Im going now. But I think some of them are looking at their options, too, Kane said. Its different for everyone. Some guys have families and others have certain injuries to take care of. Who knows when the right time will be for them.