Riverview, New Brunswick’s Evan Nause has taken the road less travelled to accomplish his dreams in the game of hockey.
His journey has been unconventional to say the least, but the highly skilled defenceman wouldn’t change it for the world.
“My earliest recollection of playing the game was playing basement hockey with my dad and brother in White Rock, British Columbia,” Nause said proudly.
“My dad was a huge hockey fan and played competitive hockey until high school. My brother started to play the game at a very young age. Like most younger brothers I looked up to him.”
Nause’s introduction to the game not only hooked him, it inspired him. The passion to play and learn all of the game’s subtle nuances became very intriguing. “I was trying to follow my brother’s foot steps.”
“I remember being three years old and being super competitive with my brother and my dad.”
“Those times were awesome,” admitted Nause.
Mark and Julie Nause moved their young family to Riverview, New Brunswick. The Bryon Dobson Arena would eventually turn into a “field of dreams” for both Ryan and Evan Nause.
“It was unbelievable,” Nause said of his minor hockey days in Riverview.
“I started playing when I was five.”
“I was so jacked up in the summer that I would put on and take off my gear in house just for fun.”
“I was ecstatic, there was a lot great support with all the coaches here.”
“It was fun, all the guys I went to school with, I was on the same team as them, or got to play against some my buddies.”
“Riverview Minor Hockey was huge for me for sure,” Nause said proudly.
The dream to play at hockey’s highest level was firmly implanted and Evan Nause would do anything to get there.
A Young Realization
We all dream of hockey glory. We all dream of one day skating on NHL ice. That dream is shared especially amongst brother’s.
Evan Nause like so many other young Maritimer’s dreamed big, but it didn’t take long for him to realize that playing the game he loved was something he wanted to do as a career.
“Having super supportive parents that really kind of laid it out for me saying that you can do whatever you want in life which they instilled in me in a very young age.”
“Around second year Atom or first year Pee Wee, I realized that I was going to put everything into this and I want to play in the NHL,” recalls Nause.
By that age every young player dreams of playing in the NHL, but this was different. “It’s my biggest dream,” said Nause.
“I’m super fortunate to have supporting parents and a brother that’s going to push me.”
“They never told me that I couldn’t do it.”
“They always told me, yeah you’re going to do it, you just have to believe in yourself.”
“At a young age I believed in and found a passion in the game and I’m really glad I did.”
Every player needs a mentor. Every player needs someone that they can trust and bounce ideas off of. The mentor strives to educate and develop their student’s to be the best. For Evan Nause that was Allan and Josh Andrews.
Andrews Hockey Schools have played an integral role in Evan Nause’s journey in the game. “I was so fortunate to have met Allan and Josh, they are great mentors for me.”
“I met Al and Josh when I was five years old. Allan’s principals of just dreaming big, if you dream it and work the plan and work hard enough you can do anything and that’s what he instilled in me.”
“To this day we go back there to train because we are big believers in what they have to offer and what they instill in kids.”
“Andrews makes you a better player and person.”
“I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without Andrews Hockey and their unbelievable staff.”
“I’m so grateful for what they have done for me and my family.”
Why defence and when did he know that was the right position for him?
“I used to play forward, because I love to score goals, but one of my biggest attributes in those days and maybe still today is my vision and ability to see the play,” Nause said.
“My brother did play D, so that played into, but my dad and couple other coaches said that they could use me on the backend.”
“They thought that I could get the best of worlds, that’s kind of why I am the way I am.”
Nause made the switch at 9 years old and hasn’t looked back since. “I like keeping the game in front of me, and I consider myself a quarterback style player, where I can make breakout plays.”
The lessons learned in those early days of minor hockey have definitely served him well.
Nause is arguably one of the best, if not the best 2021 NHL Draft Maritime and Eastern Canadian Defensive Prospects.
Nause is coming off an outstanding season with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL.
The elite level two-way transitionally defender scored 3 goals and added 14 assists in 44 games.
His childhood dream is within reach.
Nause is entering what some players call the most stressful year of their lives, their NHL Draft year. The 17-year-old has fully accepted and has embraced his non-linear path in the game.
You see Evan Nause’s journey in the game can be defined many different ways, but they all point to the NHL.
The Prep School Route
Evan Nause’s decision to go the prep school route has helped him both on and off the ice. That decision only solidifies Nause and his family’s willingness to take their own unique in path in the game. The extremely mature, well spoken and grounded defender believes that decision changed his life. “I’ve definitely taken a unique path,” Nause said proudly.
“One of things that was instilled in me when I was younger or which I heard a lot of was ‘who do you want to be like?’
The answer was as clear then as it is now. “One of the biggest things that my parents taught me was just to be Evan Nause.”
“I just want to carve out my own path. I’m a big believer in that.”
“Everyone finds their own success through different ways.”
Nause’s internal drive and competitive spirit fuelled his desire to be the best and play against the best, especially if that meant gaining exceptional status to play up a level.
“I always challenged myself to play at the higher level with the oldest age level I could.”
Bishop’s College School in Lennoxville, Quebec approached both Nause and his older brother Ryan to come play for them.
Nause was only twelve at the time and would be playing with his brother at the U-16 level.
“I had a tough choice to make, I had exceptional status to play Bantam AAA.”
“At a very young age I set a goal I definitely wanted to go to Prep School, at that time I thought it would at around Grade 9, but when that opportunity came up I just thought it was unbelievable.”
“To be able to go to prep school with my brother and play on the same team as him for the second time in my young career was special.”
“We toured it and fell in love with the campus and staff.”
Being away from home at twelve years old has its own unique challenges, but Nause persevered. “It was the best time in my life.”
“Obviously, I had my brother, but being away at twelve years old wasn’t easy,” confessed Nause.
“It taught me so many different things especially at a young age.”
“It taught me how to look after myself, they had a great staff on campus, but I had to learn how follow a schedule and regiments.”
“I learned time management, but one of the biggest things was my work ethic.
Some young elite level athletes grow tired of the routine at such a young age and burn out. That was the farthest thing from Evan Nause’s mind.
The passion for the game and unwavering drive and desire to improve his craft only enhanced his love for the game.
“We could skate whenever we wanted.”
“I used to skate in the morning, go to class all day, then we had our team practise, then we would go eat and then we could go back and work on some more skill stuff, explained Nause.
“Going to Bishop’s at that age was unbelievable for my maturity.”
“It was personal growth on and off the ice and that’s one of the reasons I’ve taken the path I have because I just don’t want to be known as a great hockey player, I want to be known as a great person and as well as someone who is educated.”
“The education side of going to prep school was really important to me, my family and my brother and that’s why I have taken the route I have.”
Nause returned to the East Coast where he attended Newbridge Academy to finish out his schooling.
“School is super important to me and it’s a common theme,” stressed Nause.
“When my brother and I were at Bishop’s we went to a few college hockey games, but my first ever college game was with the Riverview Blues AAA team and we watched Jack Eichel play.”
“When I was with my brother watching the game, I remember thinking this is something that I want to do, that we both want to do, it was just unbelievable.”
“Being from small town Maritimes, obviously all we knew of the Moncton Wildcats and the Q, which is an unbelievable league and speaks for itself, but we didn’t know a whole bunch about the college route.”
“Going to Bishop’s was the best time of my life and I think playing college hockey will be like that, but on steroids.”
“It’s really important to me to see that through and hopefully I can play with my brother. That would be a dream of mine, to play at the college level or see each other at the professional level,” admitted Nause.
Nause is currently uncommitted to any college at the moment, which also adds to the intrigue of his chosen path.
The Next Step
All eyes were on Evan Nause when he made the jump from prep school hockey to the USHL.
“Newbridge was unbelievable, the staff there definitely set me up for junior hockey,” Nause said proudly.
“I knew it was going to be a big step, but without my teammates in Sioux Falls, I definitely wouldn’t have been as easy as it was.”
Nause raves about the support he received from entire Stampede organization. “My coaches were open to me making mistakes and they were playing me a ton.”
“They kind of let me do my thing and coached me along the way.”
“It was obviously a big step from U-18 hockey to junior, but I felt I was ready.”
Nause adapted very quickly to the pace and physicality of the league. “The USHL is such a tight league, they forecheck so hard, it’s like playing a Game 7 playoff game every night.”
“Everyone is out there to prove something, it’s super competitive.”
Nause is a student of the game through and through. The search for knowledge, growth and development motivates the ultra talented rearguard.
“There’s just a whole other level of development in Sioux Falls.”
“The farther I go in my journey the more development opportunities there seems to be.”
How does Nause plan on handling the pressure of his NHL draft year?
“The draft is always something that’s kind of in your mind that is always there even when you’re little.”
“You set goals for yourself, but it’s something in the back of your mind, it’s not a make it or break it thing.”
“What makes my path unique is that I haven’t chosen the most glamorous path.”
“I didn’t go to the Moncton AAA Flyers and put up a bunch of numbers or the Q, I’ve chosen the development path, that’s what I’m sticking to,” stressed Nause.
“This upcoming season is a big year through a lot of people’s eyes, but it’s just another opportunity to develop.”
Nause wants to finish his junior career on a high. “I think the biggest thing for me is that I definitely want to win a championship.”
“I don’t think I would too satisfied in my junior career if I didn’t win championship. That’s one of the biggest things I’m focused on right now.”
“Obviously the draft is in the back of my mind, but I think that development is so important.”
Comparisons and projections play such a massive role in the scouting world. Nause plays a very similar style to that of former NHLer and veteran of over a 1000 NHL games Wade Redden.
Nause is arguably a better skater than Redden, but his confidence and poise with the puck in all three zones rivals Redden in his prime with the Ottawa Senators.
Uncertain Times and New Challenges
How is Evan Nause staying in shape and gearing up for the biggest year of his hockey life during these uncertain times?
“We have a little gym set up in the basement. My brother and I have been working out every day and I try to squeeze in shooting some pucks in the backyard.”
“We also have access to a great running hill,” explained Nause.
“The combination of that stuff means that I’m taking strides to get better actually right now.”
“It is uncertain times, but I know I’m getting better and I’m taking strides towards my goal.”
The uncommitted aspect of Nause’s path is very intriguing especially for all those schools vying to land the highly touted prospect.
“I had my first offer when I was thirteen, from then the flood gates have opened,” admitted Nause.
“It’s been crazy.”
“There are a lot of great programs out there, but with the combination of family and my advisor that I’m with, we are trying to navigate through that.”
Nause has lost track of the number of offers he has received over the years.
“It’s pretty rare to see a younger guy in the USHL that still is uncommitted so I had a lot discussions and kind have created a lot noise with schools.”
Where does Nause see himself at the NHL Level?
“I’m not a huge believer in comparisons, but there are definitely some guys that I tried to model my game after.”
“Growing up I watched a ton of Duncan Keith.”
“Just the way he plays the game, and the way he skates you can see a little bit of him in my game.”
“My goal at the next level the way I play is to be a two-way guy, a responsible guy, that can also be looked at in the offensive zone that create plays and can make the big time plays.”
“I also want to be that guy in the defensive zone shutting things down and playing a key role at both ends of the ice.”
Evan Nause has always wanted to be an NHLer. He has taken his own unique path to get there.
The highly touted 2021 NHL Draft Prospect is quick to offer up advice for other young players wanting to accomplish their dreams and aspirations within the game and what to think about when making tough decisions.
“You have to follow your heart, you have to believe in yourself.”
“It seems like a big life decision, but realistically if you’re good enough they will find you.”
“At the end of the day you have to believe in yourself and put the work boots on.”
“You’re the one that has to go to work.”
“If you believe in yourself and work hard throughout the entire process, I don’t think you can choose the wrong path.”
“It’s all about having fun, enjoy the ride, but at the end of the day it has to fun.”
Evan Nause’s unconventional path led him to yet another major milestone in his career, when he was named the captain of Team Red last year at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge.
Putting on the Maple Leaf was an experience he will never soon forget.
“It was a great learning experience,” Nause said proudly.
“Learning about the concept of the ‘Canadian Way’ and being surrounded by athletes with the same goals was very enjoyable.”
“We had an unbelievably tight knit team which made the experience even better and we were lucky to have great coaches. It was always one of my childhood dreams to wear the Maple Leaf, to get the chance to do that was unbelievable and something I will strive to do again in the future.”
There’s no question Evan Nause will be in Team Canada’s plans for years to come.
Evan Nause’s unique path in the game continues. The road less travelled is often the most rewarding.
The courage, commitment and trust to execute the plan and stay the course on is inspirational and reveals the true character and resiliency of the player and person.
Evan Nause is on his own path to the NHL.