How Panthers prospect and QMJHL champion Evan Nause almost ended up in the WHL


Florida Panthers defensive prospect Evan Nause plays for the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), but if a small work-related family move hadn’t happened in 2006, he would have been able to play in the Western Hockey League (WHL), let me tell you the story.

Kamloops Blazers play-by-play commentator Jon Keen asked the Panthers prospect about his BC roots. Nause was born in White Rock, British Columbia on January 3, 2003; the important reason is that at the time, his father was a Vancouver air traffic controller at Vancouver International Airport. Eventually, the Nause family ended up in the Maritimes, and that’s where they would stay as Nause would play hockey for Bishop’s College School’s U16 prep team and Newbridge Academy U18.

Nause was selected fifth overall by the Remparts in the 2020 QMJHL Draft just one year after being selected by Val-d’Or in the 2019 QMJHL Draft. However, he returned to the draft because Nause indicated he wanted play NCAA hockey and kept his options open; in the 2019-20 season, he played for the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League (USHL).

Now Nause finds himself back in BC with a chance to play in front of a family: “I’m super excited to be back; this is the first time I’ve been back in over 16 years. As you (Keen) said, I was born in White Rock, and we moved when I was three,” said Remparts defenseman Evan Nause. “My dad is an air traffic controller and was based in Vancouver, then he moved to the Maritimes, and that’s where I grew up. Like I said, super excited to be back here and still have family here.

Last season, Nause was sidelined with an injury that sidelined him for six weeks. Despite that, he had 29 points in 40 games and nine additional points in 18 playoff games as the Remparts earned victory over the Halifax Mooseheads and won the Gilles Courteau Trophy, qualifying for the 2023 KIA Memorial Cup hosted by the Kamloops Blazers. of the WHL.

Nausea is in the spotlight and on one of the biggest stages for a major junior hockey player. All the focus is on winning the prestigious Memorial Cup and bringing it back to Quebec for the first time since 2005-06. “You know, we still ride so high; it’s been a great week,” Nause said. « It was great to get this win, to win the QMJHL championship, and we’re all very excited to be here, and our big goal is to win the Memorial Cup. » The Remparts have dominated on the road throughout the QMJHL playoffs, posting a 9-0 record, and are now looking to come to Kamloops as road dogs. « I didn’t even know we were 9-0, » Nause said with a laugh. « I think as a team we feel better when we have our backs against the wall, and we are the underdogs. »

There is also a certain familiarity between Nause and his teammates on the opposing side of the game. Specifically, he played with Blazers captain Logan Stankoven at the 2019-20 World U17 Hockey Championships and was roommates with Anaheim Ducks prospect Olen Zellweger. Zellweger scored 11 goals and 29 points in 14 playoff games with the Blazers. When Nause was asked how he and the Remparts would silence Zellweger, he was quick to praise the WHL Defender of the Year: « Obviously you have to respect his game. He and Stankoven, you know, are two elite players; you have to respect their game and feel it from there.

Nause plays a compound and mobile game; the 6-foot-2, 180-pound left-handed defender constantly scans the ice for threats, using deceptive moves and quick tape-to-tape passes to connect to teammates for offensive chances. His playmaking abilities took a big step forward; he activates in the game and looks for open passing lanes with cuts, looks and slippery passes. On the defensive side of the game he is equally strong, using his edge game and elite reverse skating to his advantage to cut through the opposition.

With his family in the stands, the White Rock product will be looking to use his toolkit to help the Remparts win the Memorial Cup, a trophy that legendary former Remparts Guy Lafleur and Marc-Edouard Vlasic won.


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