John Scott, who had a rule named after him because of last season's All-Star Game voting controversy, is retiring after 10 seasons in the league, saying he "appreciated every second of it."
The enforcer became the focus of a fan voting movement in last season's All-Star Game despite not ever racking up star stats. When it looked like he'd make the team, it appeared that the league didn't want him to play, and he was suddenly traded from the Arizona Coyotes to the Montreal Canadiens and then demoted to the AHL. After fan backlash, however, the NHL backed off.
Not only did Scott serve as captain of the Pacific team, he also earned MVP. The league subsequently passed the "John Scott Rule" that doesn't allow injured or demoted players to make the game. Scott doesn't mind that the rule will be his NHL legacy.
"That's right, hockey fans. Thanks to me, you will never have another John Scott in the All-Star Game again. I gotta say, I wouldn't have it any other way," he wrote on The Players' Tribune. "It has been a hell of a ride. But I'm done. I am officially retired, as of today.
"I scored five goals. I had four kids. And I had one hell of a good time over the years."
Scott, 34, called the All-Star Game appearance "simply amazing," but he came back to reality in St. John's, Newfoundland, after the weekend. His wife had just given birth to twins and was taking care of their four kids while he rode buses with young players.
"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," Scott wrote.
"That's when I knew."
The 6-foot-8 Scott played for the Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres, San Jose Sharks, Coyotes and Canadiens and knew that he was on the roster for basically one reason: protect the star players by dropping the gloves. He even thinks it's a useful role in the league.
"Can I just make a final confession, though?" he wrote. "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."
He wrote that the anticipation of the fight "drives you crazy. It's not very easy on your psyche, especially once you have a family."
But he has no regrets and is currently working on his second career as a stay-at-home dad.
"On Tuesdays, I take my oldest girls to dance class," Scott wrote. "I'm usually the only dad in attendance. It's probably quite a sight for the moms. This big, hairy 6-foot-8 guy standing around the dance studio, waving to his little princesses every five seconds."