If one were to browse through the messages of condolence that have been pouring in for Shannon Coady in the days since his passing, it would be easy to mistake him for royalty.
The professional hockey world lost more than just an equipment manager when Shannon, or “Shaq” as almost everybody called him, passed away last week, but it’s clear to all that his impact stretched far beyond the rink.
When news broke of Shaq’s passing, messages poured in from across the globe from players who have passed through the locker room doors in St. John’s who have been blessed by Shannon’s infectious smile and damn fine skate work.
Shannon was synonymous with professional hockey in St. John’s since he joined the St. John’s Maple Leafs as a stick boy in the early 1990’s. While the days of the Baby Leafs are long gone, that didn’t stop former players from coming forward to pay their respects to a man who was far more than just an equipment manager.
From Baby Leafs to IceCaps and even the Fog Devils, players near and far around the world took time to remember the man who was “little in stature, huge in heart”, as so beautifully stated by former Baby Leafs defenseman and current Ottawa Senators Head Coach D.J. Smith.
While it’s certainly no surprise to see this multitude of messages of support from those within Newfoundland’s professional hockey inner circle, the true scope of Shannon’s impact can be seen by his impact on those outside the Newfoundland locker room.
Messages of condolence from Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador Andrew Furey, award-winning recording artist Alan Doyle and Olympic gold medalist curler Brad Gushue paint a picture of a man whose impact was far greater than his ability to sharpen skates and prepare hockey jerseys.
Shannon Coady was going to have a positive impact on the world regardless of his profession. His easy-going nature made everybody feel at home in his presence. Professional hockey in Newfoundland and Labrador was simply his platform. He made a lasting impact locally and throughout the industry as a whole.
Thank you Shannon. For your hard work and dedication to our community, both in Newfoundland and Labrador and throughout the hockey world.
"Shannon not only had a profound impact on professional hockey locally, but that impact extends throughout the hockey world with the number of players and coaches who had the chance to know him over the years - local teams, visiting teams, players, coaches, equipment managers, trainers, executive staff. We all have many positive memories of Shannon since he started with us back in 1991."
Growlers President, Glenn Stanford