By Michael McHugh
December 30, 2006 will be a day “Big” John Scott will never forget.
The 6-foot-7, 255-pound Houston Aeros defenseman/forward signed his first professional NHL contract with the Minnesota Wild, and the entire season has been quite an adventure of sorts for him.
“It feels good,” said a beaming Scott. “It’s my first contract and it shows they’ve got some confidence in me. Now I’ve just got to go to work and show them that I can play in the NHL.”
An NHL contract is not the only new change for Scott. A change of position from defenseman to forward is bringing on new challenges, and a new point of view on the ice. Day by day it has gotten easier for him and his hard work and patience have paid off.
“It was pretty tough at first,” said Scott. “The first couple of days I had no idea what was going on. The coaching staff has really worked with me and the older guys on the team let me know, position wise, where to be on the ice and what to look for. It’s a lot more skating but I am confident with it now.”
Hailing from St. Catharines, Ont., just south of Toronto, the 24-year-old Scott has had an immediate impact with his new team. He has collected one assist and 28 penalty minutes in 20 games with the Aeros, during his rookie season in the American Hockey League. Scott played four collegiate seasons at Michigan Tech (WCHA) and recorded 19 points and 347 PIM’s in 126 games.
Aeros head coach Rob Daum likes what he sees so far.
“He’s a big strong guy who is coping well. It’s going to take some time to adjust, and we made it even more difficult for him,” said Daum, referring to the position change. “It’s a tough transition to make, but I think he is doing a very good job of making that transition and he’s showing a great deal of improvement from day to day.”
Scott takes it all in stride, and is settling in with his new position, his new team and housemates Ryan Hamilton and Danny Irmen. Exploring all that the city of Houston has to offer, he has discovered sushi, the Gulf of Mexico and getting accustomed to the warm Houston climate.
The journey to this point in his life is one he reflects on and is amazed that he is where he is today. “I didn’t think I was going to make it anywhere in hockey, but here I am, playing in Houston,” Scott said. “It’s been long, and it’s been hard, but here I am. It’s pretty cool.”
Something few people know about you is….
I’m not just a dumb hockey player. I actually majored in mechanical engineering at Michigan Tech, so I’m pretty smart. Ryan Hamilton says you are a good cook. Should Wolfgang Puck be nervous?
I wouldn’t go that far, but I’m definitely the best cook in the house, for sure. We’ve got a little bar-b-que and use that a lot. I like to cook steak and mashed potatoes. Practical jokes are common in sports. Anything creative ever happen to you?
(laughs) Oh yeah. Back in college. One night some guys found a dead deer on the side of the highway. I slept with my door open, so they snuck in my room like at three in the morning and threw it right on my floor. When I woke up, there was a dead deer right on my floor and it really freaked me out. I ran out screaming from my room. It was a pretty good one. Name one unique fact about yourself.
Most people think I am 6-foot-7, but I’m actually 6-foot-8 ½. Pre-game rituals?
I eat pasta and chicken before every game and always put on my right equipment before my left equipment the same way. What actor do you think would best portray you in a movie?
I would have to say Mickey Rourke. . Who would be your leading lady?
Salma Hayek, hands down. For sure. I heard that you bought a dog at the Houston Aeros Charity Golf tournament auction. Where is the dog now?
(laughs) The dog, the infamous dog. It is now in the possession of (teammate) Benoit Pouliot. I couldn’t take it. He was pooping all over my house so I gave him to Benoit who really wanted him too. I wish I could sing like…..
Johnny Cash Best advice anyone ever gave you…
Drink my milk. It makes me strong Best part of your job?
Playing hockey. How can you go wrong with that? Getting up everyday, go practice and hang out with the guys on the team. It's the best job in the world. I love it. Hardest part?
Moving away from home and your family at an early age. Off-season hobbies?
I like to go mountain biking a lot. I also like fishing, reading, and going out with my friends. What books have you recently read?
I just read one by Dean Koontz called Velocity. It was pretty good. Favorite Music?
I try to stick to rock and roll. My favorite band is The Tragically Hip. No rap on my i-Pod.