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A top-down way of thinking

There's something to be said when a hockey team that suffered a season-ending, seventh game playoff loss the previous evening, shows up the next day for an event that some would say they have every reason to pass on.

Yet, the majority of the Truro Junior A Bearcats squad, decked out in home jerseys, were at the Atlantic Superstore en masse to share an exciting moment with one of their biggest fans, Coulson Mattatall. Superstore had raised $10,000 toward a van fitted with lift equipment to make it easier for Coulson, who has cerebral palsy, and his family to get around. And, one expects, get to Bearcats home games.

Notably absent from the photo of this jubilant scene, however, was head coach Shawn Evans. But Evans wasn't absent, just out of frame.

That's clearly his way. Players front and centre with him nearby, and every bit a part of the bigger picture.

And while Evans may shun the spotlight at times like this, don't be fooled. If his team or any of his players are put upon, he's the one out front, defending, deflecting and returning fire, as necessary.

Evans is a veteran coach of the MHL, quick with a quote. He's led some great Truro teams and some, not so great. But the one constant through his years at the helm has been what he expects from his players, and it doesn't end when they take the skates off.

There's a top-down sense of responsibility instilled with this team. If you play for Shawn Evans, you play hard, but just as important, you respect the community you represent. There's ample evidence of that.

For some hockey teams game time means game face on. As a competitor, Evans understands that. But he also understands what it means to Coulson when he gets a salute from the coach as he makes his way to the bench to begin the game. And he understands, even when the focus is squarely on the battle ahead, what it means to Gloria Webb - the Truro Daily News's super fan contributor for the playoffs - to be part of the team, fist-bumping the players before games for luck.

Evans has other interests, away from hockey. Well, probably. He also coaches the Colchester Cyclones, his daughter's minor hockey team, and has been quoted as saying, "When I have these girls at the rink it's like I have 15 daughters."

Big Taylor Swift fan, too, apparently.

Is a bearcat a mythical creature? Maybe, but you never go long without a sighting in these parts, on or off the ice.

That's due in large part to Shawn Evans and his values.

Good leaders make good teams. Good people make great communities.

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