Daryl Evans Discusses Toronto, LA, Gretzky, and Miracle on Manchester

Tue, Nov 9, 2021
by CapperTek

When a hockey player moves to a new team, they have to change their city, house, meet new teammates, and, in some instances, a completely new hockey culture. This was the same case for Daryl Evans, a Toronto native who was drafted by Los Angeles Kings in 1980. It was a move that Evans described as an “eye-opener.” Daryl spoke to Betway Insider and revealed his experiences. He revealed how he grew up in Canada, which is regarded as a hockey hotbed of the world, before heading to the US.

Daryl had played games in the US before in tournaments and got a chance to see how the game was developing. However, he claims that moving to a nontraditional hockey market was very different. For instance, he stated how in Toronto, it is all about hockey. However, in the US, it was not so. It was a transition in which hockey was no longer at the forefront. At the time, hockey was down the pecking order.

Daryl made this move when he was relatively young, but in hindsight, it was a change that worked out for the young lad. He went on to play 105 games for the Kings in four seasons and, after that, became the King’s radio color commentator, and it’s been 23 years in the booth. After spending the past 40 years in California, he experienced how hockey has grown in the state and across the United States.

In the interview, Daryl recalled playing against a team from Pittsburgh, and they were required to win by 32 goals to take the next step in the tournament. Fortunately, his team won 33-1 in a game that had three 10-minute periods.

Hockey Has Evolved In the USA

Hockey is undoubtedly the number one sport in Canada. However, things are different in the US, where it has become an important sport in several states. Daryl acknowledged that the US had done an excellent job at embracing hockey and taking it to the next level.

Additionally, he stated how the US had offered different ways of looking at the game, including different coaching approaches. In this regard, he claimed that hockey teams had to embrace new things to remain competitive.

Gretzky Was a Game-Changer

Daryl noted how hockey is growing at a fantastic rate in the US. For example, he pointed out how a more significant number of kids were drafted, which is an excellent thing for the sport. Additionally, Daryl mentioned that the arrival of Wayne Gretzky in 1988 was a significant thing for the growth of the sport in California.

According to him, the arrival of Gretzky to Los Angeles put hockey on a different level drawing the attention of different parts of the city. Daryl claimed that Gretzky broughtthe Hollywood scene to the sport. In fact, Daryl believes he helped take the game in the city to a level similar to that in Toronto and Canada.

Daryl was no longer at Kings when Gretzky came in after Kings acquired him from Edmonton Oilers in 1988. However, he had the chance to experience the impact that Gretzky’s move had on the adoption of the game in California. Moreover, Daryl claimed he would have loved to have been part of the team when “The Great One” arrived. He also stated how he had the opportunity to take people to games and educate them on what was happening on the ice and how extraordinary it was.

The Miracle on Manchester

In the interview, Daryl also revealed how Gretzky was not only a great player but also a fantastic individual. He stated how he had played against Gretzky in hockey and baseball and had developed a friendship with him. Additionally, he played against him in the “Miracle on Manchester”, which is undoubtedly the most incredible comeback in NHL history.

Not only did Daryl participate in that comeback, but he also scored the winning goal as LA came back from 5-0 down to overcome Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers. Daryl remembers how that moment was unbelievable and how he appreciates it even more as days go by. Furthermore, he also stated how going into the match, everyone expected Edmonton Oilers to win the game effortlessly, which magnifies the win much more. Daryl insisted on how the miracle of Manchester was his most significant moment on the ice. To make it more interesting, he stated how the two teams flew on the same plane back to Edmonton for game five. However, he also revealed how it was the quietest plane ride he had ever been on.

Even though Daryl claims the Miracle on Manchester was the best moment in his playing career, there might be one more on a personal note. After seasons with LA and one with Washington, he ended his NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Even though he only played two games for his hometown club, he claimed how it was a special moment for him to skate out at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Source: NHL lines site Betway