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Female players learn hockey from an L.A. King

BURBANK — Shortly after the Zamboni had resurfaced the ice at Pickwick Ice Arena on Tuesday night, a group of about 20 women took to the fresh surface for an hour to grasp some fundamentals on hockey.

They were greeted by their instructor, Daryl Evans, a former player in the NHL who scored one of the most significant goals in Los Angeles Kings history before becoming a radio announcer for the franchise 15 years ago.

For those attending the Daryl Evans Summer Women's Workshop, which began Tuesday, Evans had plenty in store for the participants to learn. It included skating drills without the puck to skating with the puck and passing.

"I've been involved with hockey camps and clinics for a long time," said Evans, who mostly played left wing for Los Angeles, the Washington Capitals and his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs from 1981-87. "It's great to see people want to learn about the sport, which has continued to become more popular out here.

"We go over a lot of fundamentals and we want them to have fun. We want them to feel like they are in a comfortable environment and see them try to continue working no matter the level they are at."

The event is broken into four one-hour sessions and will continue each Tuesday in August at the venue. The clinic attracted participants from Burbank, Glendale and the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys. Evans, who finished his NHL career with 22 goals and 30 assists for 52 points in 113 games, came prepared to teach the participants some of the finer points of the game.

Before dumping a bucket of pucks on the ice, Evans, 53, had the athletes skate forward and backward from one end of the ice to the other. The group completed the skating drills in about 35 minutes before taking part in passing sessions.

Evans, who scored the winning goal in overtime to author "The Miracle on Manchester" during a playoff game against the heavily favored Edmonton Oilers that featured a cast of future Hall of Famers that included Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey, Glenn Anderson and Grant Fuhr, in the opening round of the 1982 playoffs, watched the athletes closely to make sure they completed the drills properly.

One of the athletes who provided zip with her skating was Gabrielle McKenna-Elliott, who has resided in Burbank for five years.

McKenna-Elliott, who began playing hockey last winter, glided up and down the ice with and without the puck.

"I was able to work on some things, mostly the inside and outside edges in skating," McKenna-Elliott said. "It's great to be able to learn something from a professional player.

"[Evans] is very articulate in explaining things and there's a lot of value that comes from that. It's hard to be able to keep your eyes on the puck all the time. That's something I'm going to keep working on."

Chris Caputo, 24, attended the camp for the first time after recently moving to Glendale from Washington, D.C.

Caputo, who works at Pickwick, said she immediately soaked up what Evans taught.

"It's amazing and very awe inspiring," Caputo said. "It can be a little intimidating at first, but Daryl is great at breaking down things.

"It's great to be able to learn from somebody like him. I hope to be able to make some improvements with my game by the end of the clinic."

Evans said the participants have an opportunity to work on what they learned in between sessions.

"We'll teach them things like how to pass and shoot and play defense," said Evans, who was drafted by the Kings in 1980. "They can expand on a lot of different drills, take the things we teach and keep practicing.

"If they can take one thing away from the clinic, then it's like hitting the lottery. We like to see them continue to appreciate the game as players and fans."

Evans conducts similar camps around Southern California, including Los Angeles, Valencia and Palm Desert and San Diego County.


Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich .

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