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
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
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.
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
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.