A special night for Vancouver Giants alumni, Evander Kane.
Not only did Evander Kane return to his hometown of East Vancouver, but he also returned to visit his Western Hockey League junior team, the Vancouver Giants. Kane played two full seasons with the Vancouver Giants 2007-09 before he turned professional with the Atlanta Thrashers.
The Vancouver Giants held a ceremony to recognize Evander Kane, as a member of the Vancouver Giants alumni, before Wednesday night's game at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver.
“It’s great,” Kane said of the event. “They are such a high-class organization that do such a great job of remembering some of their alumni and it’s great to be a part of that.”
As part of the event, a Kane bobblehead was created and handed out to hundreds of fans attending tonight’s game at the Pacific Coliseum. Fans were given scratch cards at the door for a chance to meet Kane and have a professional photo taken with their former star. Kane also dropped the puck as part of the ceremony.
“It’s interesting,” Kane chuckled about having his own bobblehead. “I think they actually had created a few of us in my last year there, and now it’s the Evander Kane bobblehead night.”
Kane first joined the Giants as a 15-year old when he was called up from his midget team during the 2006-07 season. He played a few games and was put to the test when he joined the WHL team full time just in time for their playoff run in 2007. The Giants went all the way that season, capturing the WHL Championship, and went on to win the Memorial Cup Championship.
Kane continued to grow and became more and more successful with the Giants. In his sophomore season, (2008-09), he recorded a franchise record for goals scored with 48, and 96 points in 61 games. He finished second in team scoring to linemate Casey Pierro-Zabotel's 115 points. The pair finished one-two in all-time Giants' single-season scoring.
Looking back, Kane attributes a lot of his success to his junior head coach, Don Hay.
“Coming into the organization as a 15-year old it was all about getting used to how he coached," said Kane. "A lot of players don’t understand him right off the hop but once you get to know him, he’s a really great coach. He tries to get the best out of you, which is what he did.
“I think he really helped me and made me into the player that I could be. He gave me an opportunity early on. He was the best junior coach I’ve ever seen.”
Although the Winnipeg Jets are rare visitors to Vancouver, being in the Eastern Conference, Kane makes sure he returns to where it all began as often as he can. He makes sure to pop his head into the Giants’ office to share a few laughs and catch-up with the team that had a lot to do with where he is today.
“There are a lot of guys from that team that still get together every year and a lot of guys are still out in Vancouver in the summers training. We definitely still stay close.”