Bigger than Hockey

 

It’s just science man!

He’s 6ft 8 and 250lbs! Of course John Scott has a big heart! But this weekend I had the opportunity to see for myself.

We recently had the privilege of meeting John and his family at the NHL All Star game in Nashville.   We were selected to participate in the Players Gifting Suite and met 44 of the very the best hockey players on the planet! For a kid who grew up playing hockey, it was a dream come true. To be honest, almost all of the players we met were intelligent, humble, and all around great guys. But for us, John Scott just towered over the rest of the players we met.

If you are not up to speed on the “John Scott Saga,” I’ll fill you in.

John is not your typical hockey superstar. Known as a heady, stay-at-home defenseman, John’s name doesn’t wind up on the stat sheet too often. (A role I know full-well from my playing days!) His selection to the All Star Game was a result of an overwhelming and potentially light-hearted Fan Vote campaign.  The grass-roots movement that most likely started as a joke, turned into a national news story as John’s campaign started to build momentum. Eventually, John became the top overall voter getter and was named captain of the Pacific team. This is where things get shady. With an eye on the bottom line, the NHL started a campaign of their own to convince the fans to change their votes to a more well-known and skilled player. They even asked John to advocate for his teammates instead of himself (which he willingly did). Then, with All Star Weekend in Nashville was fast approaching, John was inexplicably traded from Arizona to a team loaded with skill and talent, the Montreal Canadiens. Montreal didn’t really have a need for a player with his skill type and he was immediately sent down to the minor leagues. Now what? Is a minor league hockey player eligible for the NHL All Star Game? The NHL hoped not.

But the plan quickly back fired on the League, as public suspicions grew about foul play. The media, fans, and almost every player continued to lobby for John to attend the game. It was awesome! And so here he is: John Scott, the journeyman enforcer, who at times struggled to stay in the League, as Captain of the West, an NHL All Star. Right before arriving in Nashville, John wrote a blog post in the Players Tribune about his experience and it has undoubtedly touched thousands of hockey fans. If you haven’t read it yet, it is extremely well written and classy. And that’s just how John is!

We were set up in the gifting suite with a bunch of other brands at the player’s hotel. Each player would walk through to pick up their free loot. There was a ton of innovative merchandise for the players to load up on. All of the players that came through seemed genuinely grateful and excited to pick up your stuff. However, John was just head and shoulders above the rest. With a contagious amount of excitement exuding from him, John walked through the suite, engaging with everyone. He had his wife and one of his daughters with him. You could tell immediately that they were his pride and joy! He was in full-fledged “I’m soaking this all in” mode.  When he came around to our booth we hit him with the Knots story and mission. He was listening intently to our pitch, but then he stopped us mid-sentence and said with an easy going semi-toothless smile, “I want to thank you boys for all that you’re doing.” We were flabbergasted. We both were like “huh”? Thank US??? Are you serious? You’re John Scott, Captain of the West and leading vote getting that the 2016 NHL All Star game. You have just accepted a tie from us (that most likely won’t fit because your 6’8”) and said you’re going to wear it and Instagram a picture of it, something that could change the entire trajectory of our business. And you want to THANK US?!

But that’s just what John Scott is all about, the definition of humility.

John even came back the next day to hang-out with all the vendors, while escaping from the media circus that followed him around all weekend. He was swapping stories, telling jokes and giving people a hard time, as if we had all grown together. He had made all of us feel like WE were the All Stars in the room. All the while, he was the most sought after guy in Nashville!

So cheers to you John Scott! Thanks for showing us how humility, a sense of humor, a few missing teeth, and HUGE heart can make you an All Star.

 

Quick Update: After this post was written, John brought his child-like excitement and infectious smile with him on the ice for both the Skills Competition on Saturday and the All Star Game on Sunday. He captained the Pacific Team to victory, winning $1 Million in prize money! He SCORED 2 goals and was named the tournament MVP, winning a car, which will have plenty of room for his girls and the new twins! He was carried off the ice by his teammates.

PJ McAward