Former Philadelphia Flyers, Hershey Bears and Philadelphia Phantoms defenseman and subsequent Phantoms and Flyers head coach John Stevens was born May 4, 1966 in Campbellton, New Brunswick, but raised in Turkey Point in Norfolk County, Ontario. Drafted by the Flyers in the third round, 47th overall of the 1984 NHL Draft, the tough and savvy Oshawa Generals defenseman spent most of his playing career in the American Hockey League but appeared in nine NHL games for Mike Keenan's Flyers in 1986-87 (six games) and 1987-88 (three games).
After four full seasons with the AHL's Hershey Bears, Stevens joined the Hartford Whalers. He appeared in 44 NHL games over parts of three seasons while continuing to be a blueline fixture at the AHL level for Springfield. In 1996, Stevens returned to the Flyers' organization as a free agent.
Stevens spent the remainder of his playing career with the newly created Philadelphia Phantoms. Signed to provide leadership and stability, Stevens was the team's first captain. The defensive defenseman also scored the first goal in Phantoms' franchise history. In 1997-98, Bill Barber's team won the Calder Cup championship in its second season of existence.
An eye injury forced Stevens' retirement in 1999. The 33-year-old then turned to coaching, taking over for Barber as head coach in 2000-01 when Barber moved up to the Flyers. Stevens spent six years honing his craft with the Phantoms, leading the team to a 101-point season in 2003-04 and 103 points the next year (coinciding with the canceled NHL season). In the spring of 2005, Stevens went on to coach the Phantoms to their second Calder Cup championship.
Stevens joined the Flyers as an assistant coach for the 2006-07 season, taking over as head coach after the dismissal of Ken Hitchcock on Oct. 22, 2006. Although the Flyers endured the worst season in franchise history, the organization quickly bolstered the roster and went on in 2007-08 to come within three wins of reaching the Stanley Cup Final.
In 2008-09, Stevens' Flyers posted 99 points in the regular season before losing a hard-fought six-game series to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Buoyed by the addition of superstar defenseman Chris Pronger in the offseason, the Flyers were picked by The Hockey News to win the Stanley Cup in 2009-10. With the team off to an underachieving 13-11-1 start and mired in a slump, Stevens was relieved of his coaching duties on Dec. 4, 2009.
After leaving the Flyers, Stevens was hired in 2010 by the Los Angeles Kings as an assistant to Terry Murray (who had previously served as Stevens' assistant with the Flyers). Stevens served as interim head coach for four games in 2011-12 after Murray was fired and before Darryl Sutter was named as his replacement. Stevens won the Stanley Cup with the Kings as an assistant coach in 2012 and 2014.
Stevens' son, John Stevens Jr., attended the Flyers' development camp in July 2012 before attending and playing hockey as a forward for Northeastern University. Younger son Nolan Stevens also attended Northeastern, scoring 20 goals and 42 points in 41 games a sophomore. The Stevens sons were both born in Sea Isle City, NJ.