Enforcers, You’re Dying Out, But I Kind Of Appreciate You.

August 3rd, 2016

The Pacific Division reigns in the All Star Game and it’s no surprise to anyone, with the exception of those who follow the NHL and know that the Pacific has been the worst division this season. It’s almost poetic in the sense that all the other divisions feel so high and mighty over the disaster that is the Pacific, but cannot beat them in a scrimmage. BLESS UP. None of it would have been possible without our very own captain John Scott, who is the MVP of the weekend and the MVP of many hearts.

It was very surprising to many that John Scott would have taken something that started out to be The Internet Nerd’s Answer To Anarchy and turned it into something very special for himself and his family. It was no surprise to me at all, as I’ve known that John Scott is fucking awesome for well over a year now. It seems to be a common theme amongst the enforcers of the league; Kevin Westgarth, George Parros, John Scott, etc., all known for being face punchers, but undeniably well liked by other players, great personalities, and incredibly smart. I remember hearing stories about Westgarth and Parros from employees who worked for the Ducks and Kings–they were the two dudes who always had the most fun, spent a lot of time with social media interns/employees to do creative projects for the fans, and were funny as hell.

Unlike other hockey players, who can barely read and write, these guys have a passion for the game but also a passion for growing their knowledge in other areas as well, and never afraid to show how much they appreciate those who support them. Because of their size, they were given one role in the NHL, and that was to Goon It Up. I guarantee you that anyone who has been skating/playing hockey since they have been able to stand would not dream of passing up a chance to make it to the big leagues, even if it is ‘just to be a face puncher’.

Unfortunately for the Parros/Scotts/Westgarths of the Hockey World, the enforcer role is dying out, and on the one hand, we are losing senseless violence in the sport, which is good, but on the other hand, we are losing a more humbled side of the sport. These people KNOW that they aren’t going to have a 20+ year career in the NHL, but goddamn, do they ever cherish every minute that they get to be out on NHL ice.

I’ve heard far too many stories of players who have out of this world talent, but are huge assholes off the ice, because they have that sense of entitlement due to their talent (with the exception of PK Subban, who is just a treasure all around).

It’s unfortunate that because of the Expectation Of Their Role, the enforcer isn’t given much of a chance to do anything but enforce because as John Scott said, he didn’t get to where he is by accident. There is talent there, and hopefully, with what the hockey world saw happen this weekend in Nashville, maybe expectations will change for those who are perceived as Just The Face Puncher.

In my years of being a hockey fan, there has never been a story quite like John Scott’s story the past couple of months. Sure, it started out in the not nicest of ways, but did it ever end so magically. For once, the majority of the hockey world didn’t just take something at face value; we empathized, we connected with the story of someone who is more than just a Face Puncher. The fans have now recognized what it can be like to give someone who is less than ideal to the Cookie Cutter Hockey World a chance, and how special it was. It’s the kind of message that could be so meaningful to a kid who loves the game, but doesn’t believe that they will ever live up to that bullshit Perfect NHL Standard. I loved it.

For a league that has done everything in its power to make me, a female hockey fan, feel like I’m just a no nothing cash cow, especially the past two seasons, it was nice to just Feel Good (at least briefly) about being a hockey fan again–and to think, they didn’t even want this to happen.

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