Dean Evason is headed back to the bigs, back where it all started.
The former Calgary Hitmen co-coach is joining the Washington Capitals -- the club that drafted him in 1982 -- as an assistant coach.
It's a job he would have had last season if there had been an NHL campaign.
Evason, who hails from Flin Flon, Man., said he contacted the Caps after his contract with the Vancouver Giants wasn't renewed following the 2004 WHL playoffs.
"I'd been in touch with them, after things didn't work out in Vancouver to be an assistant but the NHL thing came up and pushed back the plans a little bit," said Evason from Vancouver, where he attended a friend's wedding over the weekend.
Instead, with no NHL season, Evason signed on with the Hitmen, joining GM/co-coach Kelly Kisio behind the bench.
But with a resolution -- pending ratification -- to the NHL's labour strife, Evason will join Caps head coach Glen Hanlon and incumbent assistant Jay Leach when training camp starts.
"It's like when you're a player. You always want to play in the best league and the NHL is the best in the world, so it's the same with coaching," Evason said, adding his goal is to become an NHL head coach.
Heading back to D.C. brings up some good memories from the day the Capitals drafted him in the fifth round, 89th overall.
"I guess I've come full circle now. I remember that day. My brother phoned me when I was at work and said I was going to see the president. I had no idea what he was talking about," said Evason with a laugh.
Kisio said he had a pretty good idea Evason would be moving on. "I was basically waiting for the phone call," said Kisio, who was a rookie co-coach last season and learned a lot from Evason.
"Dean put together most practices and stuff like that and with different situations throughout the year that came up, we'd talk it out. Most of the time he'd been through it and knew exactly what was going to come down, so he's a great sounding board."
Evason only played 17 games for Washington before moving on to Hartford in 1984. He also toiled with San Jose, Dallas and the Calgary Flames in his 13 NHL seasons.
Evason first joined the Hitmen in 1999 as an assistant, helping them win the WHL championship. He then became the Kamloops Blazers bench boss, where he spent three seasons, before guiding the Vancouver Giants in two campaigns.
Meanwhile, Kisio will be busy finding a worthy assistant coach and said he's going to be in contact with a few people shortly.
Kisio also said he'll be behind the Hitmen bench "as of right now, unless something unusual comes up."
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