As a six-time NHL All-Star, Patrick Kane was already one of hockey’s most esteemed players. But the athlete earned the respect of non-sports fans recently while on board an American Airlines flight. And his gesture would go on to take social media by storm.
From the moment he could hold a hockey stick, Patrick Kane was devoted to a life on the ice. As a child, he spent countless hours honing his skills and even tried out for teams above his age range. In fact, his abilities were so good by the age of nine that angry parents even tried to ban him from summer league games.
Kane was clearly destined to become one of hockey’s superstars, and at age 14 the budding sportsman was offered a spot with Detroit’s Honeybaked AAA team. Despite living in New York at the time, the future star jumped at the opportunity. And after taking up residence with former Stanley Cup winner Pat Verbeek, Kane’s already considerable skillset only got better.
Having rubbed shoulders with one of the greats of the game, the young right winger then got a chance to represent his country at the 2006 IIHF World U18 Championships. Kane was the tournament’s top scorer and, alongside his America teammates, picked up a gold medal. And Kane earned more accolades the following season when he scooped the Ontario Hockey League’s Emms Family Award for rookie of the year. More importantly, though, he caught the NHL’s attention.
Throughout 2007, Kane was regularly regarded as the top-ranked player in that year’s NHL draft. And commentators were proved correct when Kane was immediately swept up by the Chicago Blackhawks. Yes, it looked like the player’s years of hard work were now paying off.
Signed to a three-year contract, Kane quickly made good on his initial promise. In his first year in the NHL, he accumulated more points than any other rookie and was duly awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2008. Then, just one year later, he featured on the cover of the hit video game NHL 10.
But Kane’s luck wouldn’t hold out for long. In 2009 the star was convicted of disorderly conduct following a disagreement with a taxi driver in Buffalo, New York. And he caused further controversy that same year, when he was pictured partying shirtless in the back of a limousine in Vancouver.
Nevertheless, Kane bounced back from these scandals with his best year yet. As part of the 2010 U.S. Olympic squad, his efforts helped the team walk away with silver medals. Moreover, Kane netted a crucial goal against the Philadelphia Flyers as the Blackhawks earned their first Stanley Cup in 49 years.
Since rising to the top of the NHL’s ranks, Patrick Kane has become one of hockey’s greatest modern players. Indeed, his 2010 Stanley Cup triumph was followed by further victories with the Blackhawks in 2013 and 2015. The 2015-16 season, meanwhile, saw Kane become the inaugural American to receive the Hart Memorial Trophy for Most Valuable Player.
In addition to his athletic accomplishments, Kane has also made some generous contributions to good causes. In 2012, for example, he played in a Champs for Charity hockey game in aid of the Ronald McDonald House Charities. And he was unafraid to test his mettle away from the rink when he participated in 2016’s Denis Savard Charity Golf Tournament.
However, while he may be a softy at heart, the NHL superstar is still considered by some sports fans to have a reputation for bad behavior. But his naysayers began seeing Kane in a new light after he boarded an American Airlines flight in May 2017. Little did he know that one simple gesture would endear him to countless more fans.
As befitting a sporting titan, Kane had booked himself a seat in first class. Making his way to the front of the aircraft, the star undoubtedly raised a few eyebrows from hockey followers in the aisles. But there was one person in the rows of seats who managed to catch Kane’s attention.
And while thousands see him as a role model, Kane had spotted one of his own personal heroes sitting in economy. The hockey star had spotted a soldier in uniform and, after taking his own seat further down the aisle, couldn’t get the serviceman out of his mind. So he called an air steward over to issue one very big-hearted wish: he wanted to switch seats.
Speaking to CBS Chicago in May 2017, flight attendant Teri Truss recalled the moment when Kane made his astonishing request. “He said, ‘There’s a soldier on this flight,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, okay?’ He said, ‘I would like to give him my first-class seat, and I’ll go to the back.’”
At first, Truss didn’t believe what she was hearing: “I’m like, ‘Are you sure?’” But the decorated player assured her of his intentions and made it clear that he thought the military man deserved the comfortable position more. “I was like, ‘Perfect, great opportunity,’” she added.
Of course, the soldier couldn’t refuse such a generous gesture, and he gratefully accepted the sportsperson’s chair. And Kane’s move had impressed his fellow passengers, too. Truss in particular was bowled over and wanted a memento to mark the occasion. So, with as much grace as he’d shown the soldier, Kane happily agreed to a photo.
Like almost anybody with a smartphone, Truss quickly uploaded the snap to Twitter. What’s more, she used the platform to commend Kane’s actions. “Patrick Kane from the BLACKHAWKS gave up his 1st Class seat to a SOLDIER,” the Columbus, Ohio resident wrote. “What a class act.”
Indeed, many of Truss’ followers couldn’t agree more. Within two months, her tweet had over 5,000 shares and four times as many likes. Users, like Cheryl Neary, had their own words of appreciation. She wrote, “He’s showing respect to those who’ve given so much! Great move!”
But despite the amount of well-wishers praising Kane, Truss was a little surprised by the picture’s popularity. In fact, the steward revealed on Twitter that she didn’t realize the hockey player was even a celebrity. “I didn’t even know who Kane was,” she wrote. “I actually did it because of the soldier.”
During the flight, the serviceman returned once more to give Kane his appreciation, while Truss told Chicago radio station WBBM that the star “was awesome.” Yes, Kane’s attitude will be remembered by more than just those on board the flight. Moreover, it proves that while first-class seats may come with a high price tag, classy behavior doesn’t cost a thing.