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Evans: Little Time For Rest

by Jon Rosen / Los Angeles Kings

It was two in the morning when the Los Angeles Kings’ plane touched down at Dulles International Airport in the early hours of March 26. By the time the team arrived at its Washington, DC hotel, it was nearly 3:00 am as a fatiguing day’s work neared its completion.

With an 11:00 am bus to the White House on the schedule, sleep was on the mind of anyone with the strength to muster up the thought of it following the travel and the Kings’ come-from-behind win over the Chicago Blackhawks. But for Daryl Evans – a man who has gotten by on very little sleep in his 14 seasons of service as the team’s radio color commentator – the night was still young.

“I recall still watching my TV at 4:30 in the morning, and I was up by six,” Evans said.

The same words used to describe last season’s shortened schedule – compacted? Truncated? Abbreviated? – can be used to describe Evans’ sleep patterns. Whether at home or on the road, he relies on a highly irregular rest schedule punctuated with ample exercise and an occasional nap. Though the hour and a half of sleep he settled for in Washington is on the lower end of his sleep spectrum, he’s not exactly one to close the blinds and roll out of bed at the crack of noon.

“If I have a crazy night, I can get four and a half, which is pretty odd. “There are times – like sometimes in the off-season more so, I’ll try to stretch it out, maybe take it to five hours, if I can.”

This is a man who has run the Los Angeles Marathon six times and works out for hours – that’s multiple, with an “s” – each day. A Southern California ambassador of the team and the sport, Evans’ time in-season and out-of-season is filled with Kings Care and charitable initiatives as well as on-ice clinics and camps. There’s very little down time for the broadcaster who has served as a Cadillac salesman and STAPLES Center’s Director of Premium Seating Sales since retiring from a playing career that saw him score the overtime game-winning goal in the Miracle on Manchester in the greatest comeback in Stanley Cup Playoffs history and as part of the 1982 playoff defeat of the Edmonton Oilers.

As for his attendance record, he’s about to begin his 15th year of serving alongside radio play by play broadcaster Nick Nickson and has yet to miss a game. This, of course, follows the report two years ago by Rich Hammond that Evans worked 363 of 365 days in his first year at Jim Bess Cadillac in Calabasas. Amazing, right?

“What kind of amazes me more is that if I tried to do that regimen that he’s on day to day to day, it would probably kill me,” said Nickson, who has been paired alongside Evans longer than any other partner in his broadcasting career. The longevity and familiarity has had an impact on the broadcasts.

“At this point I would call it rather seamless,” Nickson said. “I think because of the experience that he has and the experience that I have, I think the broadcast is pretty smooth from a verbal standpoint.”

It’s not as much of a story that a broadcaster works all preseason, regular season and postseason games than it would be if any games were missed. Still, there’s something remarkable about the Ripken-esque broadcasting streak of someone who has seen every hockey game ever played inside STAPLES Center and has lent his voice to every game Dustin Brown has played for the organization.

“That’s neat,” Evans said. “From a broadcaster, and part of the development team as well, working with the skating with these guys – you see these young guys come on board, and you see them come in as young men, almost boys for some of them. Dustin’s a very young-looking guy, so he had that real boyish look when he came here. To see that, and to see him evolve and become captain of the team and eventually do what he did [in 2012] – and that’s raising the Stanley Cup for the first time in the franchise’s history – it is special. It’s kind of neat. You become almost attached in a way. Not that we’re as close as the players are to them, but they see us on a daily basis, and it’s a number of years we’ve been working together, so it really is neat and very rewarding to see everything go in such a positive fashion for them.”

For Evans, the daily workout routine and his commitments to events and clinics at Toyota Sports Center are punctuated with brief periods of rest, which he refers to as “just my body telling me that it needs it.” After returning home from a run or a workout, he’ll occasionally sit next to the pool and close his eyes for a few minutes as a means of “recharging the battery.”

“I’m kind of a creature of habit. I try to stay into a routine and follow that,” Evans said. “That’s probably why my body clock is the way it is. When it gets time when your body gets kind of beat up, or when most people get sick or things like that, those are times when I grab a 15, 20 minute nap in the afternoon, or maybe once in a blue moon, I’ll grab a four-and-a-half hour or five-hour sleep. Those are few and far between, but it happens.”

When asked how he manages to avoid illness and fatigue, Evans again alluded to exercise. There are vitamins, eating healthy, getting sunlight, and reading the signs of when his body is telling him it needs rest.

“I might back off on whatever type of workout I’m doing or things like that. I get stimulated by the more I have to do. That’s what triggers where I get my energy from. It goes up and down, but I think for the most part, it’s at a pretty high level.”

Familiarly entrenched both in the broadcast accounts of Kings games and in the hearts and minds of Kings fans, Nickson is more than familiar with the season’s rhythm – the travel and late arrivals, the fluctuation of weather from city to city and the natural wear that comes with the acute focus of broadcasting and the strain of exerting one’s voice for hundreds of hours per month. Like Evans, he, too will listen to his body – though he’ll also take an odd morning here or there when it’s telling him to get a few extra hours of rest.

“We’re probably at two ends of the spectrum,” Nickson said. “But, yeah, I admire his energy level. I admire his enthusiasm, and I think that comes through on the broadcast. He’s very passionate about whatever he does – whether it’s doing the games, or working out – as we all know he does that almost daily for an hour, an hour and a half, two hours a day. He’s involved even in what we consider the offseason, for a lot of us, players, coaches and broadcasters. But for Daryl, he just keeps on ticking during all of the clinics. He’s involved in the youth development camps. It’s just an ongoing thing with him.”

* * * * *

Many Kings fans following along on FOX Sports West are more than familiar with Daryl Evans’ fantastic suit collection, as captured here by The Royal Half. In addition to his wonderful array of threads, he also maintains the tradition of standing at the very front of the bus in trips between the airport and hotel, the hotel and arena, and the arena back to the airport. His explanation:

“I used to always sit in the back of the bus when I was playing junior hockey and in the minors. We’d play our card games. When I went to Europe at the end of my playing career here in the NHL and the American League, the first bus that we got on, we were circling through the mountains, and the other import and myself were sitting in the back of the bus, and we got a little bit kind of woozy. Everybody on the team was sitting in the first three rows, and they were laughing at us. I guess we were a little green in the face by the time we got off the bus, and weren’t feeling good, neither one of us. Then they proceeded to tell us going through the mountains like that, you’ve got to stay up to the front of the bus. So then the bus driver said to me, ‘Stand here. You’ll feel better.’ And that’s kind of the first time that I did it. And then I just started chatting with him, because he started telling me about the countryside, and I started to learn a little bit about things. It was enjoyable…I like to stay on the move, so by standing there I feel more relaxed doing so. It’s just become – I don’t want to say a ‘tradition’ – but it’s something that it’s just where I like to be, and I like keeping the bus drivers company.”

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