Undrafted. Eleven years in the league with only five goals and six assists.
First-round draft pick. Eight years in the league with 236 goals and 396 assists.
By looking at the statistics, it is an obvious choice who the National Hockey League (NHL) wants to be represented by at an All-Star game. But an online fan campaign voted the “undrafted nobody” John Scott, an enforcer who is more known for punching people in the face than scoring goals, into the All-Star game. Not only was he an All-Star, but he received the most votes by the fans, making him an All-Star team captain.
The fans loved it. The NHL did not. To the NHL, having someone like Scott represent the league as an All-Star was a joke.
The NHL did everything they could to not-so-secretly make sure Scott didn’t play in the game. He was not-so-mysteriously traded to a different division so he would be invalid to play. Then the team he got traded to sent him to the hockey minor league. The NHL and his former team both asked him not to play. They asked him if playing in the game would be something his two young daughters would be proud of.
This is where John Scott and hockey fans lost some respect for the NHL. The NHL, like the NBA and the NFL, has had its share of issues with its players. Whether it’s drugs or accusations of sexual harassment, professional athletes have given sport leagues a bad reputation. In these cases, the league can argue that they don’t stand for the actions of these troublesome athletes. But it’s different with the NHL and John Scott. The NHL is making itself look bad.
The John Scott story started as an online campaign, so when the NHL announced that Scott would not be allowed to participate in the All-Star Game the internet was livid. Players and fans alike were posting multiple messages on various social media accounts on how the NHL was wrong for not letting Scott play. It was a public relations nightmare for an already tumultuous league. The NHL had no choice. They had to let John Scott play.
They did. It was the best decision they ever made.
The fans and players embraced Scott the whole weekend. He received the loudest cheers out of any of the so-called “deserving” All-Stars. Every time his name was called fans shouted, “MVP! MVP!”
The NHL All-Star Weekend went from a PR nightmare to the best thing that could have happened to the sport. John Scott’s All-Star helmet is being sent to the NHL Hall of Fame in Toronto. His manager confirmed reports that there are talks about making a movie on John Scott. Another online campaign wants to get Scott on the cover of the NHL17 video game. No doubt, all of these things will have the NHL’s trademarks and name on it.
From the ashes of a PR crisis, the NHL was able to make John Scott their savior.