Ever since he was playing hockey as a youngster in Buffalo, New York, there has been little doubt that Patrick Kane loved the game of hockey and that he had great skill. As a youngster, he would stick-handle everywhere, whether that meant in his house, up the stairs of hotels at hockey tournaments or on the ice. There was simply no way to get a stick out of the youngster’s hands, and goaltenders couldn’t stop him from scoring.
At the age of 15, Kane’s dominance was so great that he was approached by the renowned youth hockey program Honeybaked to move to Michigan and play with one of the greatest youth teams in the country. After weighing the fact that he had to move away from home, Kane agreed to move and lived with the team’s assistant coach, former NHL All-Star Pat Verbeek.
He quickly rose to the forefront of the program a 83-goal, 77-assist season while playing for the under-18 team. This output placed him amongst the best young hockey players in North America, and led to him being drafted by the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.
While playing in the OHL was a great opportunity, Kane decided that his development would best be aided by playing for the United States National Team Development Program. This required him to live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with 40 of the best youth hockey players from the United States.
Over the next two seasons, Kane continued to be a man amongst boys as he compiled 172 points in 121 games against various junior and college hockey teams. He compiled an additional 12 points in six games at the IIHF U18 World Championships, which made him the highest-scoring player at a tournament that featured John Tavares, Jiri Tlusty and Jakub Voracek, amongst many others.
Suffice to say, Kane was once again ready for greater challenges.
Because of a November birthday, this challenge was not going to be the NHL, and Kane instead went to play with the Knights in the OHL. While there, he continued to develop his offensive instincts and gained valuable knowledge in defensive zone duties. Still, his scoring prowess could not be slowed down, as he led the league with 145 total points and helped lead the U.S. to a Bronze Medal at the 2007 IIHF World Junior Championships.
By this point, it was clear that Kane was going to be a top pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, and the Chicago Blackhawks made him the no. 1 overall pick. It was clear from the moment that Kane’s name was announced that he would be playing in the NHL during the 2007-08 season, and he did not disappoint. He picked up 72 points while playing in all 82 games, which helped earn him the Calder Memorial Trophy.
Moving forward past the 2008 season, things have been quite peachy for Kane in his career, as his magical hands and great skating ability continue to create offensive chances. With a career total of 487 points in 504 games, there is no doubting that the 25-year-old is a pure offensive threat, and surely nothing can change that.
Kane has had some highs along the way, with 2010 and 2013 Stanley Cup Championships ranking amongst his top feats. The fact that the American superstar scored the game-winning goal to win the Cup and also won the Conn Smythe Trophy shows that he is a guy who performs when the stakes are highest, which includes the Olympic Games.
This includes 2010, when Kane picked up five points in six games on the way to a silver medal, in turn becoming the premier offensive threat for the Americans. It is clear this label will hold true at the 2014 Olympics, Kane will be one of the main players to watch during the hockey tournament.