Halfway through the season of the National Hockey League, the players take a short break.
They celebrate the best players in a match they call an All-Star Game. It was January 31 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Fans vote for who should play in the All-Star Game. When the results came out, one name was quite a surprise.
Hockey fans in Arizona used social media to vote John Scott into the game. They used the Twitter hashtag #VoteJohnScott to gather support for Scott.
After a couple of days, Scott was leading in fan votes.
A writer for the Canadian Press news service called the voting “bizarre.”
Scott, a Canadian, started his career in 2008 with the Minnesota Wild team. He was traded many times to other teams. He often practices with the team, but does not usually play in the games. He was good, but not good enough.
Definitely not a “star.”
But when voting closed, Scott was still one of the top four.
Scott thought he would play in the All-Star Game and represent Arizona. But on January 15, Arizona traded him to the Montreal Canadiens.
Then, the Canadiens did something that prevented Scott from playing in the All-Star Game: They demoted him to a minor-league team in Newfoundland.
Some sports experts said Scott was traded because the league did not want Scott to be in the All-Star Game because he is not a hockey “star.”
Scott was in limbo.
Fans were unhappy.
But two weeks before the game, Scott received a gift. The NHL said it would allow Scott to play, even though he was not in the league.
In a statement, the league called Scott’s circumstances “unique.”
Fans like Jake Donnelly tweeted how happy they were that the league allowed Scott to play. “The NHL actually did something right,” he wrote.
Scott released a statement saying, "While being voted to the All-Star Game by the fans was not something I expected to happen, I am excited to participate in the All-Star events with my fellow players."
But in an article he wrote days before the game, Scott revealed that the teams and the league tried to persuade him to drop out of the game. Then they traded him so he would not be able to play.
“While I don’t deserve to be an All-Star, I also don’t think I deserve to be treated like I’ve been by the league throughout this saga,” he wrote.
When the puck dropped on Sunday night, no one was sure how Scott would do.
So Scott showed them.
He scored two goals and helped his team win the championship game.
And, fans voted him the game’s Most Valuable Player; meaning, without him, the game would not have been as good.
Oh, and he won a new car, and his team split a $1 million prize.
Not bad for a minor-league player taking a weekend off from his job in Newfoundland.
After the game, Scott talked with the Boston Herald.
“This is crazy. You can’t write this stuff. I can’t put this into words. It just gives me goose bumps thinking about all the fans have done for me. I didn’t know how the players were going to react, but everybody has been overwhelmingly supportive. I think they’re happy I won.”
I’m Dan Friedell.
Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
Do you know any other stories of unlikely All-Stars? Let us know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.
Words in This Story
unique – adj. very special or unusual
circumstance – n. a condition or fact that affects a situation
bizarre – adj. very unusual or strange
showcase – n. an event, occasion, etc., that shows the abilities or good qualities of someone or something in an attractive or favorable way
participate – n. to be involved with others in doing something : to take part in an activity or event with others
limbo – n. in an uncertain or undecided state or condition
grind – adj. long and difficult work
elite – adj. the most successful or powerful group of people
tweet– v. to use Twitter to write something on the Internet