Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane signs deal to play for Swiss team
BY ADAM L. JAHNS email@example.com October 23, 2012 10:13PM
Updated: November 25, 2012 11:53AM
Asked recently which issues were the most important to him during the ongoing negotiations to end the NHL lockout, Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane said ‘‘a lot of different things.’’
But it’s definitely not money.
‘‘To say we play the game for the money would be the wrong thing,’’ Kane said. ‘‘I think a lot of us play the game for fun and play the game for the love of it. I can truly say that about myself.
‘‘You want [the new collective-bargaining agreement] to be fair to yourself; you want it to be fair to your teammates. But there’s not one moment when you’re on the ice . . . where you’re thinking about money.’’
It was Kane’s strong desire to play that led him to Europe. Kane officially signed Tuesday with EHC Biel of the Swiss National League. He’s the first notable Hawks player to sign overseas. Boston Bruins standout Tyler Seguin already plays for EHC Biel.
Like other NHLers playing in Europe, Kane has an ‘‘out’’ clause in his contract that will allow him to leave once the lockout ends. But there is no telling when that will be.
Kane plans to play in the Hawks’ ‘‘Champs for Charity’’ game Friday at Allstate Arena before leaving Sunday for Switzerland, agent Pat Brisson said.
‘‘Excited and thankful to join EHC Biel in the Swiss league,’’ Kane posted Tuesday on Twitter. ‘‘Looking forward to the experience.’’
Kane nearly signed to play in Europe a week ago, but he held off because of the charity game and some short-lived optimism surrounding negotiations. Talks broke down last week, and it’s unknown when they will resume.
Brisson said Kane ‘‘is looking forward to [playing] so he could keep his conditioning up’’ through competitive games. Kane has been skating at Johnny’s IceHouse West with some teammates for a while.
Brisson also represents Hawks captain Jonathan Toews. As far as his European options, Toews said last week he’s ‘‘not jumping on anything right now.’’ Forward Viktor Stalberg, though, did tell Swedish media that Toews had interest in Sweden.
‘‘I’ve been there a few times; it’s great,’’ a grinning Toews said. ‘‘But it’s got to be the right fit for a lot of different reasons, not just to go over there to play with Viktor Stalberg. We’ll see. I’m not too sure.’’