This time three years ago, John Scott was the most popular player in the NHL. 

By Dan Gartland
January 18, 2019

This is my worst nightmare

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

This time three years ago, John Scott was the most popular player in the NHL. Last weekend, he almost died.

Scott, now 36 and living in Traverse City, Michigan, told The Athletic’s Chris Kuc that he nearly died after falling through the ice on a frozen lake in his backyard.

Scott said he was attempting to clear snow off the lake’s icy surface so he and family could skate and thought it would be safe to do so because people were ice fishing nearby. But Scott, who was listed at 6'8", 260 pounds in his playing days, soon felt the ice give way under his feet and plunged into the frigid water.

“I couldn’t get up on my dock the first three or four attempts because I was soaking wet—I was just drenched,” Scott told The Athletic. “I was like, ‘O.K., do I scream for the ice fisherman but how is he going to get me?’ My kids were playing up at the house and they weren’t going to hear me screaming with the noise up there.

“I tried to hoist myself up but I couldn’t do it and there was no way I could get to a part where I could walk up because at the end of my dock it’s probably 20 feet deep and I couldn’t get around to where the beach starts, so I was like, ‘either I get up on the dock or I don’t get up at all.’ I managed to find a somewhat solid piece of ice to put my foot up on and kind of hoist myself up luckily.”

If you’re not familiar with Scott’s story, it really is one of the most delightful things to happen in the NHL in recent years. Though he had scored only five goals in 285 career NHL games, a massive online campaign made the veteran enforcer the top vote-getter in 2016 All-Star Game balloting. Despite initial efforts by the NHL to keep Scott out of the game, the league caved to public pressure and allowed him to participate. He ended up winning All-Star Game MVP honors as a write-in candidate and took home a new car.

The All-Star Game ended up being the second-to-last time Scott ever played on an NHL rink. The Coyotes had traded him to the Canadiens before the game in what many thought was an attempt to keep him out of the game. Montreal sent him to its minor league affiliate in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and he spent much of the rest of the season there. He played one game for the Canadiens in April and was then allowed to return home to Michigan instead of going back to the minors. He retired the following December.

P.S.: If you ever find yourself in a situation like Scott’s, here’s how you get yourself out.

Learn this guy’s name

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Full send

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