Chicago-bound Kane in the limelight at home

By Carolyn Thompson

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Donna Kane was recalling the miles spent in her car as a hockey mom when her teenage son appeared to ask for the key.

The mother obliged, pulling it from her bag and handing it over.

Not the car key. The key to the city.

Eighteen-year-old Patrick Kane had received it from the mayor a few minutes earlier and now some photographers were waiting to get more pictures.

So it goes when you’re the first pick of the NHL draft, headed to Chicago and back home for some family time.

Kane, in shorts, a golf shirt and untied Nikes, found himself in Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown’s wood-paneled office Tuesday, the subject of a proclamation declaring “Patrick Kane Day” in his hometown.

Congressman Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., was there with another proclamation.

Kane’s parents, three sisters, grandfather and a host of camera-toting aunts, uncles and cousins beamed with pride. Kane smiled before a row of television cameras and microphones and said it was all starting to sink in.

“But it’s unbelievable,” he said. “I’m having fun with it.”

Since being taken by the Blackhawks in June’s NHL draft, Kane has been welcomed as a celebrity in Chicago, even throwing out the first pitch at a Cubs game before cheering fans.

Back in Buffalo – ceremonies with the mayor and members of Congress aside – Kane said he’s happy to act his age.

“I think the biggest thing with all this going on, I said to my parents the other day, I just like being a kid,” he said. “It’s fun coming back to Buffalo because no one really treats me different.”

His parents, who wore Blackhawks shirts Tuesday, don’t plan to change their ways. When Kane led the Ontario Hockey League in scoring with 62 goals and 83 assists in 58 games with the London Knights last season, Donna and Patrick Kane were almost always in the stands. It was a continuation of the years of pre-dawn practices and games that began when their son took up hockey at age 6.

“When he gave me a hug after he was drafted, he said, ‘Dad, we did it,'” his father, also named Patrick Kane, said. “I never expected that and I’ll never forget it.”

Now they’ll be rooting him on when he heads to training camp in the fall to try for a spot on the Blackhawks’ opening day roster.

“We’ll see what happens from there,” Donna Kane said. “But wherever Patrick is, we won’t be far behind.”