It’s game 5 of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning series. HBK himself will be present in the arena in honor of the same named Penguins forward line.
In 2012, John Scott became a Buffalo Sabre. As a Sabres fan who sat through a team with a distinct lack of goals the previous season, the first question on my mind was of course, “why?” Scott had been up and down between the NHL and AHL since 2008 and had one goal in the big league to show for it. His signing, I believe, was an overreaction to a hit by then-Bruin Milan Lucic on then-Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller the previous season, an attempt to “toughen up” the Buffalo Sabres.
To say that Scott’s tenure in Buffalo was less than stellar is an understatement. With one goal and 194 penalty minutes across two seasons, the highlight of John Scott the Sabre was being ripped to shreds by Mike Milbury following a nationally televised game against the Boston Bruins for a hit on a defenseless Loui Eriksson.
Needless to say, I’ve never been the biggest fan of John Scott. However, when you leave the people on the internet to their own devices, things happen. The National Hockey League opened up all star voting to the fans, and allowed them to vote for any player they chose as a captain for the player’s respective divisions in the new 3-on-3 tournament format. That opened the door for fans to find the most ridiculous choice and vote him in. Believe me, I was one of the people voting on a daily basis for John Scott, along with Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres, Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators, and Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.
So what happens? John Scott wins the all-star voting. Not just for the Pacific Division – he was the number one vote getter in all of the NHL. Those of us who voted for him felt a sense of pride. Suddenly, despite the fact we were initially voting for him as a joke, we had a sense of pride. John Scott was our all-star. We made that happen, and we were not only proud of that fact, we were proud of him. Sure, he’s not the best hockey player, and yes, maybe Mike Milbury had a point in calling him a goon, but John Scott is a good guy, taking it all with good humor, and humbly accepting the honor bestowed upon him by the NHL fans.
People are often critical of the National Football League, referring to the NFL as the “No Fun League.” I propose we start calling the NHL the “No Humor League,” because while we’re having fun putting guys like John Scott where they don’t necessarily belong, the league steps in and conveniently convinces the Arizona Coyotes to send Scott to the Montreal Canadiens, which throws a wrench into our plans. Here’s what they don’t tell you. Scott’s wife is pregnant with twins and due to give birth All-Star weekend. Now, this poor woman, 9 months pregnant, has to go through the ordeal of her husband being traded to a team 2600 miles away, being uprooted from their home in Arizona, and for what? So John Scott can’t play in the NHL All Star Game?
This ordeal is a bigger embarassment to the National Hockey League than John Scott could ever be. I wish he were on Twitter, because I’d like to personally apologize for him for the way this has affected him and his family. I voted for John Scott ten times a day every day. I was looking forward to seeing him get his moment in the spotlight. Now it’s all been taken away from him – and us.
THE PUCK DROPS TODAY: KRAFT, NHL®, NHLPA, NBC SPORTS GROUP AND USA HOCKEY SEARCH FOR AMERICA’S MOST PASSIONATE HOCKEY COMMUNITIES TO FIND KRAFT HOCKEYVILLETM USA
One U.S. Community Will Win Opportunity to Host NHL® Pre-Season Game Televised on NBCSN, $150,000 in Arena Upgrades and Coveted Title as First-Ever “Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA”
NORTHFIELD, Ill. – January 1, 2015 – Announced today, at the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® featuring the Chicago Blackhawks® and Washington Capitals® broadcast on NBC, the puck officially dropped for Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA – the search for America’s most passionate hockey community. Uniting an all-star roster of partners including the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), National Hockey League (NHL®), NBC Sports Group, and USA Hockey, Kraft’s award-winning, Canadian-born HockeyvilleTM program has expanded into the U.S. for the first time to help build better hockey communities across the country. Beginning today, hockey communities across the U.S. can vie for the esteemed title of “Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA” and enter for a chance to win the grand prize of hosting an NHL® Pre-Season game televised live on NBCSN and $150,000 in arena upgrades.
“Seeing all these passionate hockey fans cheering on their team in the brisk winter air reminds me of the way so many of us fell in love with the sport,” said Dino Bianco, Executive Vice President and President, Kraft Beverages. “Fans like this coming together for their shared love of hockey is what inspired us to launch Kraft Hockeyville in the U.S. and celebrate the unity that hockey brings to communities across the country.”
Kraft also drafted a friend – NHL® legend and NBC Sports analyst, Jeremy Roenick – to help spread the word across the country. “Growing up in Boston, hockey was a way of life for children and families, and it brought together my community in a way that nothing else could. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the lessons I learned and the experiences I gained at Pilgrim Arena from coaches like my dad, Wally Roenick, Paul Kramer, and Arthur Valicenti. Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA will help communities keep these traditions alive, and that is something I am excited to be a part of working with Kraft.”
How Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA Works
Like a hockey game, Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA has three periods. In the first period, communities across the country are encouraged to enter by sharing unique stories about their local rink, teams, hockey spirit and passion and submitting their nominations now through March 18, 2015, at www.KraftHockeyville.com, where complete contest rules and nomination applications are available.
Ten community finalists will be chosen to kick off the second action-packed period, which includes three rounds of public voting:
· Round 1 (April 14-16, 2015) – Top four communities chosen to move on to the next round; remaining six each receive $20,000 toward arena upgrades.
· Round 2 (April 21-22, 2015) – Top two finalists selected; remaining two each receive $40,000 toward arena upgrades.
· Round 3 (April 27-29, 2015) – One community will emerge as the first-ever “Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA”; runner-up will receive $75,000 toward arena upgrades.
In the final period, the winning community will be announced – on May 2, 2015 – and receive the grand prize of the chance to host an NHL® Pre-Season game televised on NBCSN and receive $150,000 in arena upgrades from Kraft.
Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA is meant to not only ignite a passion for hockey in America, but also bring a renewed sense of pride to communities. Since launching in Canada in 2006, Kraft HockeyvilleTM has positively impacted 43 communities with more than $1.6 million donated in arena upgrades. Kraft also hopes that its diverse portfolio of products will help unite hockey fans in their celebrations of the sport and their communities. The campaign will celebrate consumers’ excitement around a variety of iconic Kraft brands, including A1, Bulls-Eye BBQ Sauce, Cracker Barrel, Jell-O, Kraft Mac & Cheese, Kraft Mayo, Kraft Natural Cheese, Kraft Salad Dressings, Kraft Singles, Maxwell House, Miracle Whip, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Planters, Stove Top and Velveeta.
For contest rules, information on nominating your community and complete program details, visit www.KraftHockeyville.com. Kraft HockeyvilleTM USA can also be found at Facebook.com/KraftHockeyvilleUSA and on Twitter (@HockeyvilleUSA). You can join the conversation using #HockeyvilleUSA.
NHLPA, National Hockey League Players’ Association and the NHLPA logo are trademarks of the NHLPA. © NHLPA.
NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League, and the NHL Winter Classic logo and HOCKEYVILLE are trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks (including HOCKEYVILLE) and NHL team logos and marks are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. © NHL 2014. All Rights Reserved.