I've been a fan of the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team since I was a young child. I'm old enough to remember when they won the Stanley Cup in 1961...barely but I do remember. Since then there were a lot of lean years. When they won the Cup in 2010, it was thrilling for a long time fan. There was more celebrating in 2013. They won again last season. Three in six years....almost a dynasty. As a fan, I'm ecstatic and can't ask for more.
One of the big reasons for the three championships has been the play of Patrick Kane. He scored the game winning overtime goal in the 2010 championship. He won the Most Valuable Player award for the 2013 playoffs and he scored the clinching goal in the title game of last year's final game.
There's no question about his hockey skills. He's a phenomenal player and he seems to be getting better. He's probably hitting his peak years and that's going to be scary for the rest of the National Hockey League.
Adding to his popularity is that he's from Buffalo, New York and has played on two Olympic Hockey teams. When you think of U.S. Hockey, you think of Patrick Kane.
It was in Buffalo where the story turns.
Last summer after an evening at a Buffalo bar, Kane and some female companions went back to his home. He was accused of raping one of them. The investigation has gone on for months and in the meantime, Kane has continued to play for the Blackhawks.
I have no idea what happened inside his home and neither does anyone else other than the two parties involved. It does look like the investigation is coming to end without any charges being filed against Kane but that also doesn't mean nothing occurred. Like I said, we don't know.
That brings us to Monday night....
I went to see the Hawks play the Los Angeles Kings. The two teams have combined to win the last four Stanley Cups and I was excited to see the game. It was also my first live game of the season and I was interested to see what the reaction to Kane would be.
At Blackhawk games, fans like to wear replica Hawk jerseys. They usually have player's numbers and names on the back. If your a fan from the 1960's, you can go old school with #9 for Bobby Hull or #21 for Stan Mikita. But most have current player's names....Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, Corey Crawford and of course, #88 Patrick Kane.
I was surprised to see how many Kane jerseys were being worn last night. I know you should be able to separate the player from the person, and I also know these jerseys cost $165: but do you really want to go out wearing the name of a suspected rapist on your back? C'mon people, you have dozens of other choices.
Then came game time. It was 2-1 Kings, early in the third period when Kane tied the game. He glided into the offensive zone and fired a shot between a defender's legs that ended up in the top far corner of the goal. It was a perfect shot and one that not many players can make. Kane does this stuff often...and he wasn't done.
Eight minutes later, he made a no-look behind the back pass to set up the game winning goal. As I said earlier, not many players can do this and that's why everyone gets excited when Patrick Kane is on the ice.
A few minutes later the game ends and it's time to announce the three stars of the game. The #1 star...yep...Patrick Kane...the crowd goes wild. As the number one star, he's going to talk to the crowd and the tv viewers....and this is where it became too much for me. There's a point where he goes from hockey star Patrick Kane to Patrick Kane, member of the human race and for me, this was it.
Is it hypocritical to cheer for the player while showing disdain for the person....maybe....probably...okay yeah it is.
But this is where I'm drawing the line. After the game, I felt like I needed to go home and take a shower. After writing about him, I may need another one.
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