Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane‘s typical promotional surroundings have slowly dropped all around him. He was taken off the cover of EA Sports’ NHL 16 video game. He had his name removed from the London Knights’ camp. And he was left out of a promotional event in which players from all 30 NHL teams participate.
Even at Blackhawks training camp, which Kane somewhat surprisingly is involved with, there initially wasn’t any Kane merchandise to be found for fan purchase. That is, until Saturday morning.
ESPN’s Scott Powers, among others, shared photos of Kane shirts and jerseys for sale at the University of Notre Dame, a complete 180 from everything that has happened previously since Kane became embroiled in a rape investigation in Hamburg, N.Y.
(Screenshot from Instagram)
After the Blackhawks spent most of the last month-plus condemning Kane and not saying a whole lot else, things have rapidly changed with the start of training camp. Kane press conference to open camp, while awkward, seemed to show the Blackhawks were fully behind him at this point. This only pushes that theory even further. If the Blackhawks weren’t going to support Kane, they wouldn’t have his jerseys and shirts strewn about.
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Sure, the Blackhawks are ultimately a business, so it makes sense at face value to push the merchandise of a popular player. But they have to weigh the pros and cons of moving materials with the name of someone accused of sexual assault. The warm ovation Kane received at the first day of training camp Friday must have given whoever is in charge of team merchandise a little incentive to put Kane shirts and jerseys on the shelves.
Until something damning comes out against Kane regarding the rape investigation (by no means a guarantee), it appears the Blackhawks are going to back him, and that means going on as though everything is normal regarding the 26-year-old. While the situation is far from normal, it appears to be the course of action Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and Stan Bowman have decided to take.
Don’t take this to mean that everything will be going back to normal with other parties, though. Kane’s name still won’t be attached to much of anything outside the Blackhawks organization as teams are careful with a player being involved in a criminal investigation. But the Blackhawks are going against that, as they are the ones who have a star player to lose should everything be resolved without Kane being charged with a crime. You can understand it on a certain level, but that doesn’t make it comfortable for everyone who watches this team.
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