Signing Evan Brown to the Lake Tahoe Blue hockey team was a no-brainer.
Brown has local ties, along with impressive hockey skills that have quickly pushed the 20 year old to an elite rank. But more importantly, Brown had the kind of attitude that general manager Chris Collins was looking for.
“You want people to go to battle for you because we’re in a war,” Collins said. “I tell people who haven’t come out and seen a hockey game that it’s like watching a 200-by-85 foot battlefield. The guys battle, and Evan is one of those soldiers.”
Brown, the Blue’s left wing, represents all of the local contingent on the new South Lake Tahoe Junior A hockey team. He attended South Tahoe High School where he played four years of football and golf. Those sports don’t really translate to skating skills, but those South Shore roots translate into one grateful hockey player.
“It’s honestly a privilege to play at this rink in Tahoe,” Brown said. “The ice is good. The environment is good, and once it starts snowing there’s going to be so many people here. It doesn’t get better than that. And I get to play in my own backyard.”
Brown certainly earned the right to wear the Blue’s No. 19 jersey.
“He’s stepped up three levels of hockey in three years, which is virtually impossible for any player at any level,” Collins said.
Three years ago, Brown was playing A Level rep hockey for the Santa Clara Blackhawks. He contributed to their Nor Cal division win and state championship.
The next year, he moved up a division to the Sacramento Capital Thunder, where again his team won the Nor Cal division and state championship.
Last year, he climbed yet again, this time moving across country to play in New Hampshire.
“Within two years, he has moved all the way up to Junior A,” Collins said. “That’s quite a climb and it’s not easy.”
Whether realizing it or not, Brown has also paved a road for the young South Shore hockey community.
“Over the years, if this team solidifies itself it will eventually move up to a higher league, and he’ll be looked upon as the first one who ever made it,” Collins said. “And when Tahoe is putting players into the National Hockey League they’ll look back and say, ‘Who was the first player out of Lake Tahoe?’ It will be Evan Brown. It’s a significant contribution.”