The initial surge of interest in forward Evander Kane since becoming an unrestricted free agent on Sunday appears to have cooled in the past 24 hours as teams await further information.
This was after NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly sent a memo to the 32 general managers on Wednesday, which was obtained by Daily confrontation, this indicated that Kane could face league discipline for violating COVID-19 protocols while on vacation.
The memo says the NHL has « launched an independent investigation into the circumstances under which Mr. Kane traveled overseas during the holiday season, and whether that trip was made in accordance with applicable law in the United States and the United States. Canada ”.
The memo then clarified that the investigation is not expected to last long, however, it will depend on the cooperation of Kane and his agent, Dan Milstein.as well as whether the facts may require a disciplinary hearing before the Commissioner. «
Kane is still free to sign with any NHL team, but that last line is probably the one that gave interested teams a considerable break.
Kane, 30, was suspended Oct. 18 by the NHL for the first 21 games of the season for « violation and non-compliance with NHL / NHLPA COVID-19 protocols. » This suspension cost Kane nearly $ 1.8 million in lost wages; Kane did not appeal through the NHL Players Association.
So it stands to reason that if it turns out that Kane has again violated the COVID-19 protocols as alleged, a second and then more severe suspension could be ordered by Commissioner Gary Bettman for a further violation of the protocols.
Kane reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 21 while playing with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda. He then reportedly traveled to his hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia, on December 29 without proper medical clearance.
If these allegations are established as fact, it is also possible that Kane could be the subject of a criminal investigation for false testimony and violation of the Canadian Federal Quarantine Act.
According to the Government of Canada, no person who tests positive for COVID-19 is allowed to board a « public flight » until « 15 days have passed. » The Sharks alleged that Kane traveled eight days after testing positive, in violation of federal law.
Kane must have verified his compliance with the law by using the Canada Border Services Agency’s “ArriveCAN” mobile phone app when entering Canada by air. In addition, Kane may also have violated US law, if he has similarly attested to an airline before boarding a flight originating in the United States.
Failure to comply with Canada’s federal quarantine law « may result in fines, jail time, or both, » including six months in jail and / or CAD $ 750,000 in fines. It is unclear at this time whether or not either federal government will pursue an investigation into Kane’s trip.
Potential criminal implications aside, if Kane were subjected to further NHL discipline that could include a lengthy suspension, that alone could be enough to scuttle an impending return to the ice.
Regardless of all this, the NHLPA formally filed a grievance Sunday for the termination of Kane’s contract by the Sharks and intends to continue an expedited hearing with an impartial referee. The impartial arbiter on the matter will be the Hon. Richard A. Levie, a retired District of Columbia Superior Court judge who has also arbitrated professional sports cases for the National Basketball Players’ Association.
There is no shortage of interest and intrigue for Kane since his contract was terminated by San Jose.
Daily Faceoff has learned that more than 16 different teams have contacted Milstein about the consistent 30-goal winger since Saturday to express varying degrees of interest. Kane is said to have narrowed the roster to two teams after conducting virtual interviews with Home Offices, a finalist group that would include the Edmonton Oilers, although that may be on hold until the teams can get more than clarity on Kane’s status with the independent investigation.
Kane’s agent, Milstein of Gold Star Hockey, did not immediately return a request for comment on how the potential discipline might impact his client’s return process to the ice.
Here is a copy of the NHL memorandum that was distributed to teams on Wednesday and obtained by Daily confrontation: