Evander Kane Grievance Hearing To Need Another Day

Evander Kane, one of the NHL’s most controversial stars, began his grievance hearing against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, April 19 in New York City.[1] The grievance hearing came to fruition following the termination of Kane’s contract with the San Jose Sharks this past January. The NHLPA filed the grievance on behalf of Kane after the Sharks, whom Kane played four seasons with, placed him on unconditional waivers in January. By terminating his contract, the Sharks would be clear of paying Kane $23 million over the next three seasons. The Sharks allegedly placed Kane on unconditional waivers once he breached his player contract by traveling to Vancouver while in the AHL’s COVID-19 protocol. Kane had joined the Sharks’ minor-league affiliate after clearing waivers last November following a 21-game suspension for violating the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. Since having his contract terminated, Kane signed a one-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers, and has been a major contributor as the team looks to clinch a playoff spot. 

The NHLPA filed the grievance for Kane, and it is currently ongoing to determine whether Kane will be entitled to any of the nearly $23 million he was owed before his contract was terminated.[2] The decision of whether he will recover any of the salary he was owed many have an important impact on his next contract. Currently, Kane is on a one-year deal with the Oilers, and his status with regards to the grievance hearing may affect the amount of money or term he seeks when he reaches free agency this off-season. If it is determined that the Sharks have to pay Kane a portion or all of the salary he was owed under the contract, Kane may be more likely to take a discount to resign with the Oilers or sign with another contender. However, if it is determined that Kane is owed no amount from the Sharks, Kane might be more likely to sign with a team that is able to offer him a higher salary. It will be interesting to see the market for Kane this off-season. While he has always been considered a wildly talented player, his career has been plagued with off-ice issues. Regardless of the result of the grievance hearing, it will be interesting to see which teams are willing to take a chance on a player who may cause the team headaches but is an exceptional player on the ice.

Kane’s agent Dan Milstein (See “Meet Dan Milstein: The Ukrainian-Born Super-Agent Representing Majority of NHL’s Russian Players”),[3] tweeted that the Sharks did “not have sufficient grounds for taking this action.”[4] If the Impartial Arbitrator on this matter, Richard A. Levie, rules that the Sharks did not have sufficient grounds, the team could be on the hook for all or a portion of the $23 million that Kane was still owed at the time. While a member of the Sharks, Kane has faced several serious accusations, and some believe the termination of his contract was more related to these off-ice issues, rather than his violation of the AHL’s COVID-19 protocols. Over the summer, Kane faced accusations of gambling on games, purposely losing games he bet on, as well as sexual and physical abuse from his estranged wife Anna.[5] The NHL investigated and found no evidence to support the accusations, but did find enough evidence to suspend Kane for 21 games for submitting a fake COVID-19 vaccination card. Some supporters of Kane believe the given reason for his termination was pretextual, and the Sharks were just looking for a way to separate from the problems surrounding Kane. In addition to off-ice incidents with the Sharks, Kane was also accused of sexual assault seven years ago when he was a member of the Buffalo Sabres.[6] The seven-year lawsuit was finally settled this week, at the same time the grievance hearing began.

There is precedent for a player to be paid after his contract has been terminated.[7] After his contract was terminated, the NHLPA filed a similar grievance for Mike Richards, who was owed $21 million by the Los Angeles Kings when his contract was terminated. Richard’s contract was terminated after he was arrested at the Canadian border on suspicion of being in possession of a controlled substance.[8] The impartial arbitrator decided Richards would get 50% of the outstanding amount ($10.5 million) and it was to be spread out over 15 years. Given the difference in reasoning as to why the contracts were terminated, it will be interesting to see how the impartial arbitrator rules on Kane’s grievance hearing. If it is determined Kane is owed some or all of the salary outstanding, will the deal be structured similar to what Richards received?

As noted above, Kane’s grievance hearing began on Tuesday, April 19, and after a day of deliberation, it was determined the grievance hearing will need a second day.[9] The second day has yet to be scheduled. On Monday April 18, Jay Woodcroft stated that Kane was away from the team on personal leave and would return Wednesday. Ultimately, Kane returned to the team Wednesday for a game against the Dallas Stars in which he scored his 16th goal of the year. It will be interesting to see when the second day for the hearing is scheduled. If it is to be held during the post-season, will it be scheduled to allow Kane to play in every game, or will he have to miss a game to settle this grievance with the Sharks? Kane’s absence from a playoff game would be very detrimental to the Oilers, and it will be interesting to how this is handled by the league. What do you think? Should Kane be allowed to recover a portion or all of the $23 million he had remaining on his contract?

Featured Image Retrieved From: https://thehockeywriters.com/oilers-becoming-tougher-team-thanks-evander-kane/

[1] https://theathletic.com/news/oilers-evander-kane-contract-sharks/7cJHAARWqi6d/

[2]  https://www.yardbarker.com/nhl/articles/evander_kanes_grievance_hearing_vs_san_jose_sharks_takes_place_today/s1_15245_37417147

[3] https://ublawsportsforum.com/2022/03/08/meet-dan-milstein-the-ukrainian-born-super-agent-representing-majority-of-nhls-russian-players/

[4] https://www.pressreader.com/usa/the-union-democrat/20220420/281646783689688

[5] https://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/nhl/evander-kane-contract-nhlpa-grievance-san-jose-sharks-1.6309659

[6] https://www.sportsnet.ca/nhl/article/evander-kanes-lawyer-says-player-has-settled-lawsuit-with-buffalo-woman/

[7] https://nhltradetalk.com/evander-kane-grievance-with-sharks-takes-place-today/

[8] https://www.latimes.com/sports/kings/la-sp-sn-kings-settlement-mike-richards-termination-20151009-story.html

[9] https://www.tsn.ca/evander-kane-san-jose-sharks-grievance-hearing-second-day-1.1787850

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