October 16, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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McDavid vs. Evans, nine years later

McDavid vs. Evans, nine years later

(Edmonton) Saturday night, Jake Evans is quietly doing his stretching work during the warm-up at Rogers Place in Edmonton. Quietly, until a voice came from his bubble.


Guillaume LefrancoisGuillaume Lefrancois
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“Hey! Big head! I can’t believe your head is still big compared to your body!”

That voice is Connor McDavid. In Toronto Minor Hockey the two are known as rivals to each other. McDavid was born in 1997, but due to the great talent he played with 1996, the year Evans was born.

“We have mutual friends, we ‘ve seen each other a few times, but it must have been six or seven years since I saw him there and he’s talking to me about my big head!” Evans said amusingly on the phone. He always teased me. ”

However, we feel that McDavid has no desire to laugh after two hours. In the second period, Evans intercepted during a power play from the Oilers. Evans ran and scored, grabbing his own return.

“When you are against Edmonton’s power play, Connor McDavid, Leon Droysight … you’re not really trying to score. You want to neutralize them. Being so lucky is so special.”

Old enemies

It was one of the few shows where Evans appeared on McDavid on Saturday. Claude Julian largely relied on Philip Donald and Nick Suzuki to oversee the best player in the world, which was a bit of a chore for Rookie.

Photo by Jason Fransen, Canadian Press

Connor McDavid (97) and Nick Suzuki (14) in the second half of the Canadian-Oilers game on January 16.

But in another era, skating in McDavid’s panties was definitely Evans ’character. The Canadian rookie believes he has encountered McDavid “good thirty times”. Recent duel: The tournament that brings together the best midget teams in Ontario and some American clubs in the final of the 2012 OHL Cup.

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McDavid is a member of the Toronto Marlis, and the team has two more NHL first-round picks in the future, Sam Bennett and Josh Ho-Song. According to data from Elite Prospects, the Oilers captain advanced to the final with 18 points from 6 games!

The final against the Mississauga Rebels was a big favorite for Marlis. “They won 15-0 games, which was crazy,” Evans recalled. We have faced them eight times during the season, and they have won at least six times, sometimes scoring five or six goals. ”

For the final, Evans was responsible for watching McDavid.

“Small, he’s very intelligent, responsible, he’s not cheating,” said Geoff Skomogi, head coach at the time. So it’s not like he took him aside to say he was going to face McDavid. He knew it was his character. He neutralized it and he was proud to do so. He’s not that fast – no one – but he’s on the right side of the puck. ”

Photo provided by Geoff Skomoji

Jake Evans and Geoff Skomogi

The Rebels eventually came out on top, winning 2-1 in overtime. McDavid helped with his team’s only goal. “It was one of my favorite games of my life,” Evans told us.

“It simply came to our notice then. I know he’s awesome now, but tell yourself he’s even more dominant in minor hockey. He kicked with a puck and he was skating. I was trying to make his life harder. Although he has a point, I think it’s very good. ”

Different trajectories

The fate of Evans and McDavid fell right here.

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In late 2012, McDavid joined the Ontario Junior League at the age of 15 due to his status as an exceptional player. Three years after converting water into wine, he was first drafted by the Oilers in 2015 and he already has 474 points in the NHL at the age of 24.

“I’m still shocked to see him go,” Evans adds. He still does what He did for us when we were little. When he started skating at full speed, he looked like little hockey games because he was so superior. ”

Photo from ONTARIOHOCKEYLEAGUE.COM

Jake Evans (bottom left) at the 2012 OHL Cup

Evans, meanwhile, played in the Junior N League, OJHL for the next two seasons to maintain his NCAA qualification. In 2014, he enrolled in Fighting Irish at the University of Notre Dame, where he spent four years graduating with a degree in Management.

“Jake has a good hockey head,” Geoff Skomogi explained. He can see the ice rink well. His weakness is his skating. He solved it to reach the NHL, but he was always intelligent. I’m happy for him because he seems to have found a good character in Montreal. ”

So thanks to this long-term work, nine years later, Evans ended up playing on the same ice, in the same league, as the McDavid phenomenon. He has not yet reached the position he regularly faces in 97th place, but if he continues to develop as a defense center, who knows?

“At this point, I know some bad games will get me in trouble. So I want to work hard and play with the confidence that I’ll be in my place, but without the arrogance to think my job is safe.

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“We all know Connor will surrender, but it’s not so safe for me. We took different paths, we did not have the same ability. But it’s great to be in the snow with the best player in the world.”

We put it back on Monday evening.