Minnesota Wild name Dean Evason full-time head coach

Was interim coach
Dean Evanson

The Minnesota Wild begin training camp Monday in preparation for the 24-team Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they no longer have an interim head coach.

The Wild announced Monday morning they’ve named Dean Evason the full-time head coach, agreeing to a two-year contract extension through the 2021-22 season. Evason was named the interim head coach after Bruce Boudreau was fired on Feb. 14.

He led the Wild to an 8-4 mark in 12 games as the interim head coach before the NHL suspended play on March 11 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At the time, the Wild was one game out of the final spot in the Western Conference Playoffs with 13 regular season games remaining.

“Dean is doing a great job, he was doing a great job when the whole thing stopped. Our communications remain very good during this whole pause. I’m very happy with the way Dean has handled the whole thing,” Wild GM Bill Guerin told reporters on Sunday via Zoom, before Monday’s announcement. “He’s a good coach and a good communicator, I think that’s super important in today’s game.”

The Wild are the No. 10 seed when the NHL resumes play. They’ll face the No. 7-seeded Vancouver Canucks in a best-of-five series, starting on Aug. 2. The winner advances to the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Evason was asked last week if he’s taken the time during the Covid-19 quarantine to think about his future as a head coach.

“You step back and you look at what has happened this entire year since this unfolded, everything is crazy. My situation is no different. I’d be lying if I said I don’t think about what possibly could happen, but it’s completely out of my control. I’m going about my business as the interim head coach, leading our coaching staff into pre-practice plans and get game plans together to provide the players with the ability to go out and play the game, get on the ice and get in shape and perform to the best of their abilities,” Evason said. “I just go day to day with what I can do to help us get on the ice and win a hockey game.

“My feeling is I’m one of the luckiest guys in the world to be sitting here talking to you guys. Even if my job, there’s an interim in front of it, I’m a head coach in the NHL. I say that a lot to the guys when I walk into the room and they say how you doing? I’m doing awesome, what would I have to complain about? I’m coaching in the NHL and you’re here and it’s a pretty unique situation and a pretty unique job and a pretty special job. I don’t take any of that for granted and know that I’m very fortunate to be in this spot.”

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