From the time Evander Kane could walk, he could practically skate.
That's what his father, Perry Kane, admitted when asked at what point his son actually revealed his desire to compete on the ice. Of course, how could any dad deny his son an opportunity to fulfill the dream of one day playing in the NHL -- no matter how far-fetched it may seem?
For Perry Kane, who played collegiate hockey before taking a stab at amateur boxing, it was a chance to give back to his son all the lessons he had learned as a youngster. Today, Evander is one of the more recognizable names entering the 2009 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal next week. In fact, he's expected to go among the first five picks.
"From the time I started working with him and showing him how to do things, he never got tired," Perry Kane told NHL.com. "He'd skate in circles and never complained about practices or drills. And he kept getting better. He's always been a hard worker, and he's always tried to be the best he can be. Once he got drafted into the Western Hockey League, that's when we began thinking that there might be an opportunity to play professionally."
Evander Kane, an African-Canadian, was one of five prospects who attended Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena earlier this month. Perry Kane was also one of five fathers there in support of his son while taking in the excitement. In addition to Kane, John Tavares, Victor Hedman, Matt Duchene and Brayden Schenn were all seated beside their fathers -- Joe Tavares, Olle Hedman, Vince Duchene and Jeff Schenn.
From the moment Evander Kane was drafted and began playing in the Western Hockey League with the Vancouver Giants at the age of 15, his father knew the only way he would improve was by listening to one of the league's most respected mentors -- coach Don Hay.
"We were lucky because Evander was drafted right in Vancouver, where we lived, and he had the best coach in the league," Perry Kane said. "Having Don Hay as his coach was big, and I knew Evander would have to listen to him -- just like he did with me when he was starting out. Don is a stickler for hard work no matter how much talent you might have, but that helped Evander and is one of the biggest reasons he was able to play in the Memorial Cup as a 15-year-old (in 2007)."
Perry Kane might very well be watching his son play in the NHL in the not-too-distant future.
"It's exciting, and I'm just hoping I'm alive to see him play," he said. "I never thought I'd be in an arena watching a Stanley Cup game with my son and then enter another arena later in the month to hear his name being called in a draft for the same League. It's something special."
Contact Mike Morreale at firstname.lastname@example.org.