CALGARY, AB — The Calgary Roughnecks got more than they expected when they acquired Shawn Evans from the Rochester Knighthawks in 2012.
In four seasons with the Roughnecks, Evans averaged 106.5 points while twice leading the NLL in scoring. He set a single-season points record in 2015 — with 130 — winning his second NLL MVP Award in three years.
“Calgary was nothing but good for me,” Evans said following a blockbuster trade that sent him to the New England Black Wolves. “For me and my career, having the teammates that I had, the players that I learned from, and obviously the coach, Curt Malawsky, is one of the smartest guys I’ve ever been coached by. He knows the game of lacrosse inside and out.
It’s a tough move for Evans, but one that benefits him and his young family. It also illustrates the current reality of playing the NLL, a league where the athletes are forced to find an additional source of income to supplement their salary.
“Those are the things that are going to be tough to leave, but in the same note, it’s a decision that I have to make for me and my family. It’s tough, but it needs to be made. In the business that we’re in, these decisions get made in professional sports.
“It’s never easy leaving a team and teammates you’ve played with for the past four years. That’s the hardest part. I love Calgary, I love the organization, and I love my teammates and my fans.”
Living and working in Peterborough, ON, Evans has spent the majority of his weekends – from January to May – travelling and playing the game he loves for the past four years.
With three young girls at home, the sacrifices Evans has made have been tough for him and his wife. Playing for an eastern-based team cuts down his travel greatly and allows his family to be more involved in his lacrosse career.
“To leave is kind of emotional for me,” admitted Evans. “But it’s the best thing for my kids and my wife who put up with me travelling across country day in and day out. Near the end of my career, it’s nice to be closer to home so family and friends can watch and see me play.”
Three weeks into the 2016 NLL season, Evans and the Black Wolves will face off against the Roughnecks at the Mohegan Sun Arena. It will be an emotional game for Evans, but right now he’s focused on joining his new team and getting prepared for a new journey.
“It’s going to be bittersweet when you have to face you’re former team, but right now I’m not going to think about that,” Evans said. “I’m just going to get settled in and take a moment to take this in with me being traded and joining a new team. I’ll take things from there.”