IF you’ve ever been told you’re not good enough or you can’t do something, this is the story for you.
Just four months ago, NHL journeyman John Scott was seriously weighing up retirement.
At 33, many experts in the states considered Scott a spent force, far removed from All-Star status.
As an enforcer, whose primary role is to intimidate and injure, the Canadian-born left-wing also didn’t have the strongest rapport with the fans.
In many quarters, he was even hated.
But in remarkable scenes, the same fans who once despised him drove an internet campaign to have him voted in to play in the annual All-Star event in Nashville in January.
The surge of support came in the face of strong disapproval from the NHL, who did everything in their power to block Scott from taking the ice.
Officials reportedly feared they’d receive ridicule for honouring the controversial figure, who had scored just five goals in 285 games.
In the end the fans’ voice won and the veteran hardman repaid their faith big time by taking home the Most Valuable Player honours after scoring twice and leading the Pacific division to the $1 million top prize.
This has led to a writer contacting Scott to turn his story into a movie, while he’ll hit our shores in June to play for Canada in the five-leg Ice Hockey Classic against arch-rivals the United States.
It’s a surreal set of events that still hasn’t fully sunk in for the defenceman.
“But it makes me feel good,” Scott told The Sunday Telegraph from his home in Canada this week.
“Everyone can see something, even themselves in this story.
“It’s the underdog where someone says you’re not good enough and you’re not supposed to do this and just give up.
“I’ve been reached out to by everyone from people on the street to actors, so it clicks with everybody and I’m glad.
“When you look at an All-Star game everyone there is a skilled guy and is really good at scoring goals and getting points.
“That is not really my game, so to have the fans and everybody vote for me into the game was unreal.
“Then to play and win the MVP and the whole tournament was pretty special.
“It’s never great when your bosses are saying you’re not good enough to do something – it definitely didn’t feel good.
“There were a few days and weeks where I was questioning my abilities and if I should even go to the game.
“But the fans definitely kept me going, so to have their support was huge.”
On the back of his amazing efforts in the All-Star event, Scott is now looking forward to representing Canada in Sydney on June 25 at Qudos Bank Arena in Homebush.
He has never been to Australia, but he says he can’t wait and is even happy to take on national hero status following his underdog tale to the top.
“I’ll take it,” he joked.
“I like to drink beer and have a good time too, so I think I’ll fit in well.
“Australia one of those places where everyone has to go, so the chance to go and play hockey is just a bonus.
“The guy who runs it contacted me and said he’d be really interested in me coming out to Australia.
“I’m all for going to cool places, so I jumped on board straight away.”
For a self-confessed ‘average’ player, Scott is also extremely humbled to have a movie on his incredible story in the workings.
Dubbed ‘Hockey Rocky’ by some in the states, the film will be written by respected writer Mitch Albom – who has produced a number of New York Times best sellers and even worked with Oprah Winfrey.
“It’s insane,” he said.
“I’m the last guy to ever think I’d have a movie made about me.
“I’m just this grinder playing my arse off and I’m not a very good player compared to some of the guys.
“I’ve got everything going on now with the movie and getting to come to Australia.
“It’s definitely surreal, but it has been a good ride.”
‘CONCUSSION IS A HUGE ISSUE’
JOHN Scott will never forget the day his best mate died from playing the game he loves.
Concussion is a serious issue and it’s why Scott was more than happy to help out when he was contacted to play for Canada in the 2016 Ice Hockey Classic in Australia and promote a good cause in the process.
“I know concussion is a huge issue,” Scott stressed.
“I’ve played with guys who’ve had their careers ended, guys who have passed away and others who have had long-term effects from it.
“That’s one of the main reasons I’m doing this game to fund the research and get the word out there that this is a serious problem that we have to take care of now.”
On top of educating those within the hockey industry about concussion, Scott said he was also keen to reach out to other Australian sports like the NRL and AFL.
“I would love to talk to them,” he said.
“I would also like to pick the brains of the Aussies down there to see what they are doing and how they feel about it.
“I think it would be a really good experience.”