Montreal·Analysis

For many fans, Evan Bush was Mr. Montreal Impact

Over his 10 seasons, his tenure spanned the transition from lower divisions to the MLS and nine different head coaches.

Goalkeeper's longevity with the club allowed him to develop a historical perspective

The Whitecaps on Monday addressed their injury ravaged goalkeeper position by acquiring Evan Bush from the Impact for a 2021 third-round pick in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press/File)

Nearly a decade ago when I was first starting to cover the Montreal Impact for CBC a colleague of mine from a rival TV station gave me a tip at one of my first practices. 

He pointed toward a new goalkeeper named Evan Bush who was taking shots in the net on the far side of the pitch and told me, "now that's a smart guy and he's a great interview."

It turned out to be a great tip. 

I was green and still trying to learn my way through the landscape of professional athletes' interview clichés and I recall that first scrum with Evan Bush being like a breath of fresh air. 

He truly listened to our questions, his answers were thoughtful and succinct. Naturally, Bush made the cut for my report that night and it started a trend. 

In the decade that followed, Evan Bush was a fixture on local tv and radio because news is, at its core, the business of communication and few athletes have the knack for communication like Bush does. 

The team's marketing department realized this. They put him on billboards and in their advertisements making him into a kind of unofficial anglophone spokesperson for the club. 

For many fans, Bush became the most recognizable player on the team.

10 seasons in the bleu-blanc-noir 

Bush's longevity with the club allowed him to develop a historical perspective few others could speak to. 

Over his 10 seasons, his tenure spanned the transition from lower divisions to the MLS and nine different head coaches.

Bush was the one player who tied together all incarnations of the club and, regardless of the situation, he always emerged as a leader on the pitch. 

After a game, win or lose, without fail he faced the media and answered the tough questions. 

Away from the pitch, Bush bought into Montreal 100 per cent. He was a presence in the community, raised a family here and grew into a Montrealer himself. He fit in so well that it  happened more than once I've had to explain to people that he is not originally from Canada and that he is, in fact, American.  

Bush's 2nd act in Vancouver

Alas, chapters in professional sports rarely come to a close with a perfectly tied bow, and Evan Bush's exit from Montreal is no different. 

The team has a new goalie now, Clement Diop, who is eight years Bush's junior and is in the starting lineup while Bush, along with a healthy contract commensurate with his experience, was relegated to the bench. 

So after 195 regular season games, eight MLS playoff games, eight Canadian Championship games and 13 CONCACAF Champions League games with Montreal, Bush was traded to Vancouver where he will be reunited with his first head coach with the Impact, Marc Dos Santos. 

The Impact gets a 3rd round draft pick in return. 

Sporting director Oliver Renard said he didn't push Bush to leave and would have let him remain with the team if that is what the player wanted. 

But Renard said Bush wanted to get off the bench and will now have an opportunity to prove that he still has some game left in his 34 year old legs in Vancouver, where they've been decimated at the goalkeeping position with injuries this season.

The trade is a tough pill for loyal fans to swallow but is also understandable as part of the reality of pro sports. 

Looking back, it's remarkable Bush was here for as long as he was.

It was a great run.

He made his mark on and off the field. His fans in the city won't forget it. 

About the Author

Douglas Gelevan, a national award-winning sports journalist, has been a member of the CBC team since 2010. He is currently the sports journalist for CBC News Montreal.

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