The Nelson Leafs have lost their greatest fan.
Evelyn Cartlidge, a longtime supporter of the team beloved for the cookies and homemade awards she would bring players, passed away Jan. 9. She was 85 years old.
The Leafs held a moment of silence for Cartlidge prior to a game Jan. 17. Team president Corey Viala described Cartlidge as “a dedicated soul.”
“Losing someone like Evelyn, it really broke my heart,” said Viala. “I’ve known Evelyn for a number of years personally and she just means a whole lot to the organization.”
Evelyn’s late husband Ted was a volunteer goal judge for the Leafs. Viala said when Ted passed away in 2014 Evelyn began gifting players with her own paintings and later plaques whenever a hat trick was scored or a goaltender completed a shutout. She also had an award created in Ted’s name that was presented to players at the team’s year-end banquet.
Those gestures, coach Mario DiBella said, were always appreciated in the locker-room.
“She was a very kind and friendly lady who will be sadly missed by this community …,” he said. “I wish that our community had more hockey-minded people like the Cartlidges who brought that kind of enthusiasm and love for the game to the rink.”
And also cookies.
Evelyn Cartlidge made sure a tin of fresh homemade cookies was available to the players prior to every home game. Leafs captain David Sanchez said she give a sense of home to the players, many of whom are living away from their own families for the first time.
“It’s just the cookies, her smile, it was just really warming for a lot of the guys, especially the younger guys,” he said.