November 22, 2015

Kevin Evans

5497 penalty minutes in 898 games.

No, it is not a misprint. It is Kevin Evans' total amount of penalty minutes in a 15-year span. That's 6.12 PIMs per game! 4222 of them came when Kevin was a pro.

Kevin was a ticking time bomb. He dropped 'em anywhere, anytime and against anyone. In 1986-87 Kevin set a pro hockey record when he amassed 648 PIMs in 73 games for the Kalamazoo Wings in the IHL. That's 8.87 PIMs per game !

Kevin is from a hockey family. He's the youngest of 8 children. His brother Doug played 355 NHL games and another brother Paul played 11 NHL games.

Kevin played junior hockey for the Peterborough Bees and was already wild back then. (210 PIMs in 39 games). He then continued to play junior hockey for the London Knights (OHL) and Victoria Cougars (WHL). Not surprisingly Kevin led the WHL in penalty minutes 1985-86 with 441. It was also a team record.

Kevin was never drafted by an NHL team, mainly because of his size (5'9"). After his junior career he signed a contract with the Kalamazoo Wings (IHL). Sure Kevin was tough and wild, but he could play as well. Kevin in fact scored a very respectable 399 points in 517 IHL games. In 1989-90 he got 84 points in 76 games for Kalamazoo.

That great 1989-90 season gave him a chance to play in the NHL. Minnesota had signed Kevin as a free agent in the summer of 1988 but it wasn't until after the '89-90 season that they took a good look at the "bad boy." Kevin started the 1990-91 season in the same fashion as he had finished the previous season. He had well over a point per game for Kalamazoo when he was recalled by Minnesota.

He debuted in the NHL on November 16, 1990. Kevin played another three games with Minnesota before being sent back to the IHL. Everything looked good for Kevin who had a good chance to be recalled again. But then on November 30 he suffered a knee injury that put him out of action for the rest of the season.

Kevin was then picked up by the expansion San Jose Sharks in the dispersal draft on May 30, 1991. Kevin played five games for San Jose during their inaugural season in 91-92. He earned one assist. That was Kevin's last hurrah in the NHL. For the rest of his career Kevin played in the IHL,CHL and ECHL.

It wasn't just on the ice that Kevin ran into problems, but it happened off the ice as well. In early 1989 Kevin was sentenced on a fourth degree criminal sexual conducts charge, after having forced sexual contact with his 19-year old girlfriend. Kevin was sentenced to one year probation for the assault. He was also ordered to undergo an assessment of his alcohol use and obtain help if necessary. On top of that he was ordered to stay out of drinking establishments during his probation.

Only weeks earlier Kevin had been sidelined for the season when an opponents skate had cut five tendons and an artery in his right ankle.

Despite this, it has to be said that Kevin had a great heart and was a fine team player. And that incident with his girlfriend was an isolated occurrence, although not indefensible. Kevin was a sure hit with the fans who always knew that something would happen when he was on the ice.

Kevin sat in the penalty box for over 91 hours so he had some time to soak it all in.

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