For John Scott, the ride is officially over.
Scott, the longtime NHL enforcer that became a folk hero by capturing MVP honors at last year’s All-Star Game, officially announced his retirement from pro hockey on Wednesday.
It has been a hell of a ride. But I’m done. I am officially retired, as of today.
I scored five goals. I had four kids. And I had one hell of a good time over the years. By my count, I only had 43 fights in the NHL. I only really lost one clean, in my humble opinion. Congratulations, Justin Johnson. You caught me with the left hook. What can I say? Good job.
Can I just make a final confession, though? I don’t care what people remember about me as a hockey player, but please remember this one thing: I didn’t love to fight. The actual 30 seconds of fighting was fine. Your adrenaline takes over and the competition of battling at such a high level is actually enjoyable. The problem is all the anticipation of having to drop the gloves with another very skilled individual who can hurt you.
The waiting is what drives you crazy. It’s not very easy on your psyche, especially once you have a family.
PHT covered Scott fairly extensively at the 2016 ASG in Nashville.
If I had one significant takeaway, it was this:
Scott was a really bright guy. (Note: considering he’s a mechanical engineering alumnus from Michigan Tech, this might not be a “significant takeaway.” But bear with me.)
He was bright enough to realize how lucky he was to play in the All-Star Game, but he was also bright enough to realize the platform it provided. Everybody got to see the side of Scott that went well beyond the punching and grappling — he was a quick-witted, introspective, genuine person that was unbelievably appreciative of the opportunities he’d been provided.
Yes, he knew he spent the better part of 10 professional hockey campaigns beating up opponents, or intimidating them into thinking he might.
But that’s what he had to do to get to the sport’s highest apex. And he wanted to make it clear — that didn’t define him as a person. He didn’t love it, but he loved playing in the NHL, and never took a second of his time in the league for granted.
It’s a complex narrative to weave, though. Which is why John Scott wanted to write his own story.
He’s now forever a part of NHL history, which is great. The stats might not reflect an unforgettable player — 286 games, 11 points, 544 PIM — but there he is, etched in the record books alongside a list of All-Star MVPs that includes the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux.
That’s pretty cool.
Happy trails, John Scott.