An NHL head coach who is originally from Flin Flon has been nominated for the league’s top coaching honour.
Dean Evason was one of three coaches nominated for the Jack Adams Award June 11, joining Carolina’s Rod Brind’Amour and Florida’s Joel Quenneville. Evason, the head coach of the Minnesota Wild, guided the team to one of its best seasons in franchise history in his first full year behind the bench. The Wild ended the season with a 35-16-5 record and took one of the NHL’s top teams, the Vegas Golden Knights, to seven games in the opening series of the playoffs.
Born in Flin Flon and raised in Brandon, Evason played junior hockey in British Columbia, earning a berth on the Canadian World Junior team in 1983-84. After that, Evason joined the Washington Capitals, starting an NHL career that saw him play 803 total games in Washington, Hartford, San Jose, Dallas and Calgary. Evason was also a part of the 1997 gold-medal winning World Championship Canada team, serving as the team’s captain.
After hanging up his skates, Evason moved behind the bench, first as an assistant with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, then as a head coach elsewhere in the WHL, including for his former team, the Kamloops Blazers. Evason made the jump to the pro ranks as an assistant coach for the Washington Capitals, another one of his former teams, in 2005. He served as an assistant coach there for seven seasons before becoming the head coach of the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. He coached in Milwaukee for six seasons before joining the Wild’s staff.
Evason has family connections to the Flin Flon Bombers, despite never playing for the team. His late brother, Dan “Heavy” Evason, was the Bombers’ director of hockey operations from 2000-2002 and served as the executive director behind the 2001 RBC Cup in Flin Flon. Both Evasons are members of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.