Kane’s lockout life: shacking up with mom in Switzerland
When the NHL anounced that it would lock out the players on September 16, many players fled the country, opting to play in European and Russian leagues to stay fresh. For the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane, the choice wasn’t so easy to make. After being locked out for nearly a month and a half, he joined EHC Biel in Biel, Switzerland.
Kane has been performing well as a player, with 15 goals in his 14 games for Biel–but when it comes to Swiss life, the adjustment isn’t so easy. First of all is the language barrier. Biel is a town that speaks both German and French, neither of which is familiar to Kane.
So Kane brought someone he’s very familiar with to Sweden: his mom. He hasn’t lived with his mom since before he started playing junior hockey when he was 14.
“I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but it’s a totally different world,” said Kane.
The Wall Street Journal profiled Kane’s life in Switzerland as a way to show fans what life is like for some of the expat NHL players that have found refuge in other leagues.
There are funny bits of everyday life: Kane drives a car that has “EHC Biel” emblazoned on the side. However when he gets out, fans don’t know if it’s him or fellow NHL-er playing for Biel, Tyler Seguin. There’s also the hilarious differences between the NHL and the EHC. Seguin gets to wear a special helmet and a jersey that says “Top Scorer” on the back during games. Seguin even joked that some of his friends back home want him to bring the helmet tradition back to North America.
And Kane better be nice to his driver in Switzerland. The hockey stay who once beat up a cab driver over spare change now gets chauffeured to and from games by his mother.
However, while the funny stories make good anecdotes, there’s also the hard stuff. Kane didn’t foresee living in Switzerland all that long. He only packed for around two weeks. He’s living in a sparse home with his mom, with their only tie to America being a suitcase packed with books, mac & cheese, and cereal bars.
Unlike the NHL, Kane and Seguin have to supply most of their own hockey gear, road games don’t warrant overnight stays, and they have to take long bus rides to and from arenas.
“You take certain things for granted being in Chicago,” Kane said.
Kane’s also made other changes, like being more of a homebody, opting to stay in with his mom instead of partying all night. While Kane and Seguin have both been successful as players over in Switzerland, overall, you can tell that both Kane and Seguin just want to be back on their respective home ice with the lockout over.