UNCASVILLE, Oct. 26 – The New England Black Wolves completed one of the biggest trades in franchise history Monday, acquiring 2013 and 2015 National Lacrosse League MVP Shawn Evans from the Calgary Roughnecks.
“We just added arguably the best indoor lacrosse player in the world to our roster,” Black Wolves co-owner Mike French said Monday. “We are not just adding Shawn’s physical ability and stats, but we are adding his leadership and locker room presence. Shawn changes this team in many ways. We are extremely excited to have him as part of the pack.”
Calgary also gave New England its third-round pick in the 2018 NLL Entry Draft. In exchange, the Black Wolves gave up Tyler Digby – acquired in a trade from Vancouver on Sunday – and first round picks in the 2018 and 2019 NLL Entry Drafts.
“We are very excited to add a player of Shawn’s caliber to our group,” Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark said. “His offensive abilities are exceptional, and he will help us on our path to becoming a competitive team in this tough Eastern Conference. Shawn has one of the highest competitive levels in the game and that is a trait that we want to become part of our teams identity.”
New England began its first season in Connecticut in January with two consecutive wins. They won just two of their remaining 16 games and finished last in the Eastern Conference with a 4-14 record. The Black Wolves scored just 186 goals – the second lowest in the league a year ago.
Evans, a 29-year-old forward, has played 10 seasons in the NLL with Rochester and Calgary. Evans is coming off his most productive season, finishing with career highs of 47 goals, 83 assists and 130 points. The points and assists were league highs as Evans was named NLL MVP for the second time in his career.
“I feel like, right now, I am at the top of my game,” said Evans, who has racked up three straight 100-point seasons. “The last two or three years, I’ve been putting up high numbers. I feel healthy and ready to play and continue that winning attitude. I like winning and I like being part of a team. I’m looking forward to carrying that on to New England.”
In September, Evans earned MVP accolades at the FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championships, where he scored 10 goals and 25 assists while helping Team Canada win the gold medal. Evans was also a member of the Team Canada’s gold medal team in 2011.
A native of Peterborough, Ontario, Evans has enjoyed a storied career at every level of indoor lacrosse. He was a member of Rochester’s 2007 NLL Championship team, and he helped the Peterborough Lakers win four Mann Cups from 2004 through 2012.
Evans sees the ingredients of another championship with the Black Wolves.
“New England being a new team and the potential of the players they have there definitely sparked my interest,” Evans said. “I see a lot of young talent, a lot of potential and I see guys with a winning attitude. I’m just looking forward to the next step in my career, helping the Black Wolves win a championship.”
The Black Wolves open the 2016 NLL season January 9 in Vancouver before returning to Connecticut for its home opener against the Calgary Roughnecks on Friday, January 15, at 7 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena.