VANCOUVER -- Evander Kane's move to the Winnipeg Jets comes complete with a courtship tale -- your classic boy-likes-jersey, boy-turns-up-charm-to-get-it story.
"It's almost like asking a father for his daughter's hand in marriage," says Kane, who plans to speak to Bobby Hull about wearing No. 9, the sweater the Golden Jet made famous in Winnipeg and had retired by the previous incarnation of the team.
"I've read somewhere on Twitter that he had done an interview and said that he wanted me to wear it proudly. I don't know if that's true or not. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to speak to him soon. If he doesn't have an issue with me wearing it, I'll do my best on and off to live up to wearing that number. If I have to change, I'll change."
Kane wore No. 9 as a 15-year-old underage call-up with the Vancouver Giants during the 2007 Memorial Cup, then sported it with the Pacific Coliseum crew for the next two seasons. He also wore it the last two campaigns with the Atlanta Thrashers, the team that's relocated to Winnipeg.
Kane says that if he has to change numbers, he'll go to No. 19. He remains hopeful, though. The Jets do have him listed as No. 9 on their website.
"I'm not 100 per cent sure that I will be wearing it, but I've also not been told otherwise," says Kane.
The fact that he wants to wear the same jersey number as one of the most famous players in the game -- a guy who once scored 77 goals in a WHA season and had 303 goals in 411 regular-season games with the Jets -- gives you some idea into the inner workings of Kane (who, somewhat shockingly, is age-eligible for one more season with the Giants, since he doesn't turn 20 until August).
His proponents will say that Kane is that driven, that determined and that confident in his abilities. His critics, of course, will insist he's brash and cocky.
He's certainly never been a guy to shy away from the spotlight.
"I'm excited about going to Winnipeg because of the fans," he says. "The fans are going to be electric that first game. They're going to be great in training camp. You're going to be going in on a breakaway drill in training camp and they're going to be cheering like crazy.
"I'm excited to play in Canada, to play under a microscope. I like the pressure. I perform better under the pressure. If you can embrace the pressure and embrace the expectations that will come from playing in a city like Winnipeg, it can only lead to good things for you, both on and off the ice."
Kane has already cleaned out his accommodations in Atlanta and had everything shipped to Winnipeg.
He's also been to Winnipeg to try to find somewhere to live. When the sale of the team and the move went through, the Jets' new management put together a folder for each player that featured information on houses and apartments, schools, restaurants, golf courses and the like.
"They did a really good job," says Kane, the fourth-overall pick in the 2009 entry draft, who had 19 goals and 43 points in 73 games as an NHL sophomore last season. "The relocation package had everything that you could think of.
"I will miss Atlanta. I will miss the city. To me, it's one of the top-five cities in the U.S. It's got great weather, great people. There just wasn't enough fan support. The fans we had were outstanding, but to grow hockey in a non-traditional market, you need to market it well. The ownership confusion we had, and being in a non-traditional market... it wasn't going to work.
"We are bringing a really solid team to Winnipeg. There wasn't a lot of media coverage in Atlanta, and that's going to be a lot different now, but we want to prove to other teams that we can be a playoff contender every year for a long time. We're in a Canadian city now, so there's no more fooling around."
-- Postmedia News