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Remaining Optimistic

by Kristi Hennessy / Winnipeg Jets

It was the annual Vancouver Giants (WHL) golf tournament on Wednesday, August 22nd at the Tsawwassen Springs golf course, owned by Vancouver Giants majority owner, Ron Toigo. Giants alumni, staff and current players attend the tournament every year and lucky for them, the rain held off this year. Evander Kane was one of several Giants alumni, current NHL players to hit the course. TSN’s Team 1040 was live from the patio at the Springs golf course to pull him off the tee and chat.

The Giants are ready to kick off their training camp today as it’s business as usual for the Western Hockey League. But it’s no secret that the NHL is in a much different boat. Meetings are ongoing between the NHLPA and the NHL to try to come together on the new CBA agreement. The process is a lengthy one and the two sides are not as close as everyone would have hoped for at this late stage.

Kane stated that due to prior commitments, he was not in attendance at yesterday’s meetings in Kelowna, BC, but did say he will be in the meetings in New York next week. Although the focus of the day yesterday was golf for Kane, he said the CBA situation is very much on his mind.

“It's something that is a little unsettling because you are unsure what's going to happen,” he said. “If the season is going to start on time, or if you have another month of training left than you normally do. You have to stay with your training program that you always do and act like the season is starting on time.

“You don't want to sit out a season, you don't want to miss any time. I watched last year what happened with the NBA and NFL and you want to get things handled. I think the players for the most part are pretty respectful of the owners and I think we just want a fair deal, that's really what it boils down to.”

Kane admit that he’s a little bit of both a pessimist and an optimist when it comes to this situation but really concentrating on the positives and is going ahead as though everything will start as normal.

“I like to be optimistic," he said. "I want to play hockey, I think everybody wants to play hockey. We want to play in the NHL, it's the best league in the world and you hope everyday that we can build a bridge and get a little closer with the ownership. We still have time left and that's the main thing. We're working hard as players, to get the deal done and make sacrifices. We just hope from the other side that they do the same thing."

Kane doesn’t only want to play hockey, he wants to watch it as well. He said he really empathizes with the fans, especially the fans in Winnipeg.

“I’m a fan of the game as well, even though I'm a player, I am a fan- I watch other hockey games,” said Kane. “Unfortunately, I haven't been in the playoffs for the last three years, but I still watch because I am a fan of the game. For there not to be any hockey highlights on TSN, would be unfortunate. It would be a boring TV session for me!

“I think as players, we appreciate the fans just as much as anyone else, they are a big reason for why we have so much success. Winnipeg specifically, they haven't had NHL in 15 years then they get a taste of it, it would be unfortunate for another year to slip by.”

On December 18, 2010, Donald Fehr was voted in by the NHLPA as their executive director. Since the last lockout in 2004, Kane made an observation that under Fehr, it seems that the players have really started to form a much more solid bond.

“I wasn't involved in the lockout back in 2004 but from what I heard, guys were all over the place, but this time around guys are a lot more united with the leadership of Donald Fehr. I think he's done a great job at presenting himself throughout last year and showing us players that we can trust his opinions and his leadership. We've really banded together as players and really followed him in the right direction.”

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