This story is over 5 years old.


All-Star Game Hero John Scott Hits Home Run in Retirement Announcement

Scott officially hung up his skates Wednesday. In an insightful piece for the Players' Tribune, he chronicles his career as an enforcer, his memorable ASG experience, and life as a father.
Photo by Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Although casually and unofficially announcing his retirement in November with an Instagram post of him tapping a freshly brewed keg, now-retired NHL enforcer and 2016 All-Star Game MVP John Scott made it official as he took to the Players' Tribune on Wednesday to say he was hanging them up—his skates and his fists. Scott's piece was an insightful look into his life as an enforcer and father, and he details the emotions he felt throughout last season's All-Star Game controversy—which ended in memorable fashion—and the behind-the-scenes interactions with league commissioner Gary Bettman. He also writes about the feelings of going from All-Star Game hero to riding buses in the AHL in a matter of days, all while his wife was pregnant with twins.


Upon watching footage of any of his scraps, it's clear why Scott was widely known as one of the most skilled and feared enforcers to play in the league over the past decade. Off the ice, as his must-read piece demonstrates, he's a simple and grateful guy who is nothing like his tough-as-nails on-ice persona.

At 6'8" and 260 pounds, Scott is an absolute monster on skates, and he is a terrifying human being at first glance. Honing the skill and fearlessness to be a top-tier NHL enforcer, it was that natural-born skill set that led him to a career of fighting, rather than a love of beating people up.

"Can I just make a final confession, though?," Scott wrote in the Players' Tribune. "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."

I was born with size, and I was good at punching guys in the face. I didn't love it, but I was good at it, and I was happy to do whatever it took to protect my teammates.

That willingness to protect his friends with his fists while risking the well-being of his own health is what made Scott so beloved and respected among his NHL peers. The tenacity and willingness to go to battle every night also allowed the 34-year-old to stay skating in the world's best league for parts of eight seasons, despite only tallying 11 points in 286 career games.

READ MORE: The NHL Reached a New Low By Leveraging John Scott's Kids Against Him


The most shocking thing may not be his lack of points at the NHL level, though. For one of the most feared enforcers in recent NHL history, it's the low number of fights he took part in over his career that is most surprising. By his count, Scott only had 43 NHL fights spread throughout his eight campaigns—he says he only lost one of them. His 544 career penalty minutes stack up nowhere near the most notorious NHL enforcers of all time—Tie Domi, Marty McSorley, Bob Probert, Craig Berube and many others all have north of 3000-plus career penalty minutes.

People were straight up scared of John Scott, though, and that meant he was doing his job. His fights were relatively few, and the images of his fisticuffs from season's passed will slowly fade from most fans' memories. That's just fine with him, though, as he'd prefer to be remembered for other reasons.

"I just hope that people remember me as more than a fighter. In fact, I hope they remember me as more than a hockey player and a good teammate." He said he'd be happy if his tombstone read: Here lies John Scott. He tried not to be a dick. And he was a good dad.

Farewell, John. Thanks for the great ASG memories. Photo by Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

After a turbulent end to his NHL career—one that saw him voted in as an All-Star Game captain, followed by finishing his playing days in St. John's, Newfoundland, with the Montreal Canadiens' AHL affiliate—Scott pinpointed one specific moment that made him realize it was time to hang up the skates for good.

"(But) when I got back to St. John's, all of that was gone. My daughters were halfway across the country. My poor wife probably wanted to kill me. One night, I was sitting all alone in a dark hotel room and my wife was too exhausted to put the girls on FaceTime, and I just couldn't deal with it anymore. That's when I knew."

Just days after that emotional all-star weekend last February, Scott's wife, Danielle, gave birth to twins—Estelle and Sofia. The gentle giant is a father to four young daughters, and the responsibility of fatherhood and family is where his focus is now.

He says his new career as a stay-at-home dad has made him feel like a rookie again. Scott feels like a freshman in fatherhood, and he played every single NHL shift with the pride, tenacity, joy and hunger of a rookie, too.

That visible passion on the ice for his role, and not memories of his flying fists, is why we're going to miss one of hockey's last true enforcers.