The fairy tale sports story of the year (aka the John Scott saga) found full circle earlier this week when the Montreal Canadians called up the minor league defenseman to play one final NHL game.
A lifelong Bruin and Maple Leaf fan, it sticks in my throat to admit that decision was truly a class act by the Habs.
Their gesture honouring John Scott certainly personifies why they are considered to be one of the most honourable, classy, professional sports teams in the world.
Even non-hockey fans have probably heard about the story of Scott this year.
A six-foot-five-inch monster blueliner, better known for his fighting skills than scoring talent, Scott was recently voted to the NHL All-Star game by impish hockey fans as a joke.
That situation unravelled a bizarre series of events which originally saw the NHL brass attempt to stop him from taking part—to the culmination of Scott scoring two goals in the actual All-Star Game and being named the night’s MVP.
The NHL brain trust originally decided to jazz up interest in the All-Star Game by allowing fans to vote for one player on each of the four divisional squads.
Thousands of fans with a bent sense of humour decided to vote Scott onto the team.
What started as a joke became a continent-wide eye opener when Scott received enough votes to make the game.
Showing little class, the Arizona Coyotes abruptly traded Scott to the Montréal Canadiens just prior to that game and Scott was demoted to the minors.
Led by NHL players, media and fans, so much crap hit the fan that the NHL reneged and allowed Scott to play.
The fairytale turn around seemed complete when Scott’s pregnant wife Danielle, and two children, watched him receive keys to a new car as reward for winning the MVP, and a cheque for somewhere around $50,000 for playing on the winning team.
Following the game, the former Michigan Tech engineering graduate was sent back to the minor leagues to play out the year. His wife gave birth to twins soon after.
Clearly a class act gentleman, there was a sense we had not heard the last of the gentle giant with 285 NHL games behind him.
Indeed, Scott proudly donned the Habs’ uniform last week playing “one final game,” according to Montreal management.
Following Tuesday’s game (in which he was on the starting unit), Scott was mauled by the media and heaped praise on the Habs for their kind act.
Scott’s Canadiens jersey was folded neatly on top of his equipment bag as he addressed the media.
“I asked for it, I wanted to have it,” Scott said after the 4-1 loss to Florida, fully aware it might be the last NHL jersey he ever wears.
“That’s what this organization is all about; it’s a class organization,” he told media members.
“I don’t deserve any of this. When they put me out there, that was really, really, really nice. I didn’t expect any of that.”
Marc Bergevin, Canadiens general manager, gave Scott the option of flying back to St. John’s of the American Hockey League or return home to be with his family for the first time in two months.
Scott, not surprisingly, chose his family.
After more than 280 NHL games, Scott’s pro hockey days may now be over, but if that is the case at least the big man went out with a fairy tale type ending.
While I am thrilled for how things worked out for Scott, I certainly hope U.S. voters do not decide to continue their current voting joke of supporting Donald Trump to the lengthy extent they did the Scott situation.
Having Trump as president of the United States would not be a funny result, but rather a disastrous and very dangerous one.
Sticking with the hockey theme, a hardy (and relieved) congratulations to our Kelowna Rockets, who won a dramatic Game 7 over Kamloops earlier this week.
The Rockets are now dueling the familiar Victoria Royals in the best-of-seven, second-round WHL playoff series.
The Royals advanced after dispatching Spokane in six, while the Rockets garnered their position by edging out the Kamloops Blazers in overtime in Game 7, Monday night.
Smooth skating Tomas Soustal was the overtime hero popping in a rebound at the edge of the Kamloops crease.
The Rockets defeated the Royals in five games in last year’s round two on route to the Memorial Cup berth.
Rocket goaltender Michael Herringer, was brilliant in the overtime victory and will be called upon in the new series for more stellar play.
Go Rockets go!