Measuring up to success
By Garrett Fodor
The sport of hockey is evolving, yet there is still a notion that size makes a player. One local player is proving this stereotype and teams wrong.
Listed at 5-5 and 140 lbs, Tyler Scott is skating in his fourth and final season with the Essex 73’s. The 73’s have won the PJHL Stobbs division for six straight seasons and in 2014-2015 season won the Schmalz Cup, as Ontario’s best junior ‘C’ hockey team. However the Belle River native’s career could have been a lot different.
In minor hockey, if you play for a team that has an affiliation with a junior team, your rights belong to that team. Scott grew up playing Belle River minor hockey so his rights belonged to the Lakeshore Canadiens. Scott appeared in a pair of games as a AP call-up but was held pointless.
“They had invited me to their tryouts then cut me for being ‘too small’ to play in the league,” said Scott. “At the time (17 years old) I was really unhappy because I knew I was capable of playing in the league. I asked the Belle River general manager (Mark Seguin) if I can go try out for Essex and he said sure.”
While Scott did not make the 73’s in his first attempt, he said the organization treated him extremely well. The following season he tried out only for the 73’s and earned a spot on the roster. However before he could suit up for the 73’s, he would need to be released. The Canadiens released Scott without hesitation or cost, something that would come back to haunt them.
Since Scott put on the orange, black and white jerseys of the 73’s, he has been a prolific scoring force and a fan favourite among the Essex faithful. He has not let his small stature hold him back, suiting up for 245 games for the 73’s so far and tallying 269 points, putting him near the top of the team’s all-time scorers.
To earn his fourth straight Stobbs division championship, Scott, along with teammates Tyler Ryan and Michael Ruttinger, would all have to face their former team, the Lakeshore Canadiens.
73’s head coach Cam Crowder said their history with the Canadiens was definitely a factor in the series and was a chip on their shoulders.
“It’s huge, I think it plays into the series,” said Crowder. “They were unwanted there, we took them and they are key parts to our team. Michael Ruttinger is a great offensive threat, Ryan is our starting goalie and played great and Tyler Scott is Tyler Scott, no more explanation there.”
Scott said he was the last person to sign their rookie card that season and was told to prove himself, knowing not many people thought he deserved to be in the league because of his size. It is safe to say Scott has proved himself to all the doubters.
Scott and his 73’s teammates are currently in a quarterfinal matchup against the Dorchester Dolphins. Essex is vying for their Ontario leading eighth Schmalz Cup victory.