Oilers' Kane: NHL, players must promote themselves better
Evander Kane wants the NHL and his fellow players to improve the way they market themselves.
"Hockey has always been more of a reserved sport. We must do a much better job promoting our athletes as a league," the Edmonton Oilers forward told Andscape's Adam Aziz.
"It's not just on the league but also the players," Kane continued. "Guys have to want to put themselves out there. Get in front of the camera and open their mouths to showcase themselves. We don't have many guys that enjoy doing that type of stuff. I could count on one hand the guys who are genuinely good at it. When you look at many of the players the NHL tries to promote and use as faces of the league, they are some of the quietest, reserved people."
Some may interpret Kane's final point as a dig at Oilers captain Connor McDavid, but the winger heaped praise on the center when asked how McDavid handled reporters pointing out Kane's history of off-ice controversy when Kane was on the verge of signing with Edmonton last January.
"(McDavid is) the best player ever to play the game," Kane said. "It felt like the media had this hit piece on me and tried to get everybody to denounce and cancel me without knowing the facts. And you fast forward to almost a year later now, it's funny how things change.
"For Connor, it showed he was not a follower. He's a leader. We have a lot of followers in society and a lot of followers in our game. It was refreshing to see that type of leadership. When I looked at the landscape of where I could go at that time, his comments meant quite a bit to me."
Kane has been one of the most outspoken players ever since he arrived in the NHL, and he's been trying to get the league to improve its marketing efforts for years. Back in 2014 while with the Winnipeg Jets, he questioned why other leagues were better at it and said hockey is in the entertainment business.
"If you are mindful of that, maybe me winning money in Las Vegas and being excited about it - like anyone else would - isn't the worst thing in the world," he said at the time.
The veteran forward was referring to the furor that arose over a photo he posted on Twitter during the lockout in 2012 that showed him holding stacks of money and pretending to use them as a phone to call boxer Floyd Mayweather from his Vegas hotel room.
Kane is in his second season with the Oilers and his 14th in the NHL.
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