Patrick Kane and that preppy Country Day sport coat
|As a high school freshman, Patrick Kane attended Detroit Country Day for the 2003-04 school year. (Photo by Getty Images)|
And while politicians, actors, business executives and other athletes, like NBA stars Shane Battier, Chris Webber and JaVale McGee round-out the laundry list of Yellowjackets alums, NHL players aren’t in abundance at the century-old private school. In fact, there’s just one such player, Chicago Blackhawks center Patrick Kane, who attended the campus in Bloomfield Township.
A hockey prodigy as a young child in Buffalo, New York, Kane moved to suburban Detroit where he played for Detroit HoneyBaked. He was just 14-years-old when he was invited to live with former NHL star Pat Verbeek and his family.
It was a complete culture change for Kane, who quickly needed to assimilate to the Country Day rules and environment.
“That school is unbelievable,” he said. “Obviously one of the nicest high schools that I’ve ever been to, but really professional, classy and the only school that I had to show up to wearing nice slacks, a nice shirt and tie and the Country Day sport coat. That was a little different, but it was fun, I really enjoyed it.”
Country Day students must compete on two athletic teams each year, however, because he played junior hockey, Kane was exempt.
“I wanted to play basketball but it just didn’t work out with my schedule,” he said. “I actually tried out for the team and made the JV team but it didn’t work out to where I could play. It was the same with some of the other sports, because I would have liked to play lacrosse, but it didn’t work out.”
A year later, Kane was invited to join the U.S. National Team Development program in Ann Arbor. He transferred to Huron High School and became a University of Michigan football fan.
“It was different, more traditional, a public high school with a lot of different ethnicities,” Kane said, “but it was cool from a learning experience because I hung out with some new friends, it was a different experience but after a couple of weeks you feel comfortable anywhere.”
But raised on Buffalo sports teams like the Sabres and Bills, Kane was astonished with his first glimpse into of Michigan Stadium, nicknamed the ‘Big House’ which seats 115,000 college football fans on crisp fall Saturday afternoons.
“Oh yeah, I went to one or two (games) pretty much every year that I was there,” Kane said of Wolverines football. “My billet family had a couple of season tickets, so those were fun games to see how big that place really is. I don’t remember who they played in the first game that I went to, but I remember they blew them out. I went to an Iowa game that was pretty interesting, a really good game. And of course you want to go to the Ohio State game but I missed that one.”
Another don’t-miss game, Kane said, will be on New Year’s Eve when the Big House is turned into the world’s largest hockey stage ever built when the Wings will host the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2012 Winter Classic.
“I know that it’s going to be really exciting for those teams with 115,000 people that you’re playing in front of when usually we’re playing in front of 18,000 to 22,000 every night,” Kane said. “That seems like a lot for us some nights and we’re entertaining a lot of people. Now you quadruple that, that’s pretty amazing and that’s definitely a game that you would want to be playing in.”
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