A special ceremony took place at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre last Friday before the Truro Bearcats hosted the Yarmouth Mariners, and it came as a complete surprise to the man who was being honoured. Steve Lindsay was working his 1,000th game as Bearcats Trainer.
“It means a lot to hit that milestone,” Lindsay says. “The league has had 50 game schedules for the most part. Not many hit that number, and even fewer with one team.”
He spent a few years as a trainer with the East Hants senior team, and then Steve Crowell, Truro’s Head Coach and General Manager at the time, told Lindsay that the job with the Bearcats was available. “I met with Stu [Rath, owner of the Bearcats] and the rest is history,” he says.
Since then, Lindsay has been a part of four league titles in Truro (2004-05, 2006-07, 2013-14, 2016-17), a Fred Page Cup championship in 2012-13, and an appearance in the Royal Bank Cup in 2012-13. Not included in those 1,000 games are four Eastern Canada Cup All-Star Challenges, a World Under-17 tournament, last year’s World Junior A Challenge in Truro, and the 2018 World Ball Hockey Championship in Russia.
The 56-year-old from East Stewiacke has a wife and four kids and has been living in Truro Heights for around 25 years now. “You say goodbye to family at the beginning of camp,” Lindsay jokes. “Every team’s medical people are different. The job is to do a little bit of everything: help with equipment, the dressing room, do laundry, look after the players when they’re hurt, act as a doctor or physiotherapist, do anything that’s asked of you.”
The red carpet was rolled out last Friday, with four of Lindsay’s favourite players walking out to centre ice: Glen Frazee (captain of the 2004-05 champions), Jim Barbour (current Assistant Coach with Truro and member of the 2004-05 team), Travis Moore (captain of the 2012-13 champions), and Colby Lanceleve (member of the 2012-13 team and 2013-14 champions). They were joined by current Bearcats Head Coach and General Manager Shawn Evans. Only then was the reason for the ceremony unveiled and Lindsay called to centre ice. There he received a plaque commemorating his commitment to the club and position, and a picture of him and his daughter Alisha holding the Kent Cup.
“We surprised him, and his family had a big part in that,” says Evans. “[Lindsay’s] a Junior A lifer, like a lot of us. His role is very important, and it’s hard to find people at the Junior A level that want to stick with it and commit to it on a daily basis. He’s done a lot for me. No one, I’ll say it again, no one wants to win more than Steve Lindsay.”
After the game, former players were sending along congratulations. Lindsay says was outside the rink and says every member of the Yarmouth Mariners came over to him, shook his hand, and congratulated him on the milestone. “They didn’t have to do that. It made me feel pretty special though.”
For his part, Lindsay says he’s extremely lucky to be with Truro and has been treated well both on and off the ice. “I had some health issues a few years ago, but the team was supportive, they never batted an eye, and the job was waiting for me when I was ready to come back.”
From the front office on down, he says he’s worked with a lot of good people: from Jeff Geddes, the equipment manager with the club when he joined, to Ian Cox, currently the assistant equipment manager for the Ottawa Senators, to Chip Wright, who’s been the Bearcats equipment Manager for 14 years now.
As for favourite memories? The first league title for the Bearcats in 2004-05 (“We had no business winning that”), winning the Fred Page Cup in 2012-13 on home ice, and as he puts it, “Watching the guys grow into men.”
He says he wonders how many thousands of kilometres he’s travelled over the years, and how many players and team staff he’s met. He says no one does it for the money and then put it all into perspective. “No matter what’s going on in your life,” Lindsay says with a smile, “It’s never a bad day at the rink.”
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