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Christmas comes early for Buffalo children thanks to Sabres' Evander Kane

When Buffalo business leaders want to impress someone, a trip to Tempo is on the short list. The Delaware Avenue restaurant doubles as fine dining and a destination. It's a Tuscan villa dating to 1878 that thrives in the heart of downtown.

Evander Kane had 50 people he wanted to impress, so the Sabres forward made reservations for Wednesday night. It was definitely not a business dinner. This was all pleasure.

Kane is hosting a holiday dinner for 50 underprivileged children from King Center Charter School, located near Bailey and East Delavan avenues.

"I'm looking forward to taking them to a nice restaurant, probably somewhere they've never been before," Kane said in KeyBank Center. "Tempo, they've been gracious enough to help kind of sponsor the dinner. I'm looking forward to that, and I've got a little surprise for the kids after dinner.

"I'm pretty excited about it. It should be fun."

Children have a special place in Kane's life. He hosted a similar outing in 2015, treating 50 kids to dinner at Chef's followed by a $10,000 shopping spree at Target.

"This one's a little different, a little more dinner-oriented, but that one kind of gave me the idea to do it again this year," Kane said.

While the latest toys, electronics and gadgets stream nonstop through holiday commercials, plenty of children watch with envy or resignation. No gifts are coming.

Kane, who is finishing a six-year, $31.5 million contract, wants to help at least a few of them.

"There's a lot of kids that aren't as fortunate as others," the 26-year-old said. "When Christmas time comes around, the gifts, the presents and all that go into it, some kids don't get to experience that. I'm fortunate enough to be able to provide an opportunity to help some kids that are less fortunate and wouldn't be able to experience those things.

"I try to give them an opportunity to enjoy the fun parts of Christmas that kids enjoy."

It's not just Christmas. During the summer, Kane delivered a pizza feast to those in need in his hometown of Vancouver.

"I think it's a great thing for kids to look up to someone and see someone that hasn't forgotten where they're from," longtime teammate Zach Bogosian said. "It can be a big influence on kids' lives to see us on TV and see us in person. We're completely different, and that's kind of the beauty of it, I think. You get a chance to show your true colors off the ice, and it's a great thing to give back."

As Kane prepared to give back with dinner and a surprise, his megawatt smile was on display.

"It's just something that I probably enjoy more than the kids do, which is hard to believe," Kane said. "But for me it's something that I take pride in. Being in the position I'm in, I'm able to do that. It's something that I want to do."

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