Friday, April 07, 2006

John Scott Named 2005-06 Bad Boy of the Year in a Landslide

On a day when college hockey names its most outstanding player, LetsGoDU names college hockey's most notorious player. Time will tell who will have a better NHL career, but we like a player with a mean streak.

In a college hockey year filled with alcoholic brawls, hidden cameras, drinking before and after the games and multiple suspensions, one candidate stood tall and towered above the rest. Michigan Tech defenseman John Scott wins our prestigious "Bad Boy of the Year Award."

Firstly thanks to all of the readers who voted. You clearly and emphatically said excellence must be rewarded. So without further introduction, here's the article from the Michigan Lode that thrilled our voters...
From: Michigan Tech Lode Newspaper

Tech Hockey Player Charged

Another Michigan Tech hockey standout is receiving national attention this week.

Unfortunately, it is not the kind of publicity the player in question, or the program, would prefer; junior defenseman John Scott has been arraigned by the Houghton County District Court on three separate criminal charges stemming from a late night altercation last week. The altercation, in which nobody was injured, ended with a vehicle driven by Scott running into the side of a parked vehicle occupied by two other MTU students, at least one of whom had been directly involved in the initial confrontation.

The incident took place Saturday March 26 in downtown Houghton, starting around 11 p.m. according to Houghton County Prosecutor Doug Edwards. It began when a Michigan Tech student not identified by prosecutors approached Scott and made accusations that Scott had backed into another vehicle. The dispute which followed became increasingly confrontational until Scott’s accuser, responding to allegedly threatening language by the 6’ 7”, 255 pound Scott, chose to depart the scene, driving away in his 1996 Chevrolet Lumina. The Lumina also contained one passenger, another MTU student.

At this point, according to Edwards, Scott entered his 1999 Nissan Pathfinder and went in pursuit of the other student’s vehicle. Scott came up behind the Lumina and followed closely as the vehicles navigated the “Yooper loop.” Fearing that Scott’s pursuit was deliberate, the students in the Lumina used a cell phone to contact local police while driving. In Edwards’ words, “These guys were scared; Scott was threatening to beat them up.”

Shortly after exiting the Yooper loop, the driver of the Lumina made an abrupt turn into a parking lot in an effort to elude Scott. While Scott was initially unable to make the turn, he then allegedly drove over the curbing surrounding the lot and rammed the side of the Lumina.

Houghton City Police arrived on the scene a short time later. A breathalyzer test of Scott indicated that his blood alcohol content was over the legal limit for operating a vehicle, and officers placed Scott under arrest.

The following Wednesday, Houghton County District Court arraigned Scott on three charges: malicious destruction of property between $1,000 and $20,000, assault with a dangerous weapon, both felonies, and a misdemeanor charge, operating while intoxicated. If found guilty, Scott could face up to nine years and three months in prison, as the felony charges carry penalties up to five and four years respectively and the OWI charge carries as much as a 93 day sentence. The resulting damages to the Lumina come to more than $4,000, says Edwards.

Scott, who has no prior criminal record, has chosen one of the region’s premier defense lawyers, Hancock’s Mark Wisti, to represent him in court. Currently Scott is free after paying 10 percent on a $3,000 bond. He will next be in court for a preliminary hearing scheduled for the District Court on April 13.

The incident came the same day on which Scott had learned he would be receiving a full scholarship to attend MTU next school year. Scott had become an essential part of the Huskies’ defense during this past season, showing marked improvement over previous campaigns. Scott’s aggressive style of play has won him a number of fans among Husky supporters, and also given him a name among opposing team fans. His bruising play in this past campaign led to him assuming a key role as the team’s enforcer and also resulted in his leading the team in penalty minutes with 101.

While details on the incident are unclear, and no eyewitness accounts have yet turned up, it is clear that should Scott be found guilty of any of the charges, Michigan Tech hockey will face a difficult decision regarding one of its key players. Several Division I college hockey programs have made news in recent seasons for placing relatively minimal penalties on players found guilty of various misdeeds, including multiple instances in which players found to be driving under the influence remained on their respective teams, facing only short suspensions.

Michigan Tech’s traditional response in such situations has been more severe however. Most recently, defenseman Brady Greco, then among the nation’s most promising freshman, was removed from the team after disciplinary problems that included the assault of an MTU student in the dormitories and a DUI charge.

However, talented players removed from Division I programs seldom have difficulties in finding another team willing to give them a second, or third, chance. Greco, for example, is now playing in college hockey’s Frozen Four as a member of Colorado College.

While the incident has received widespread attention among followers of college hockey, most point out that little is really known about the situation thus far. MTU hockey coach Jamie Russell, quoted in the Daily Mining Gazette, commented that “He’s innocent until proven guilty both in my mind and the legal system.” A longtime follower of MTU hockey added that “This is far from an open and shut case.”

Meanwhile, MTU hockey has a good deal of positive news to focus on as well, most notably the success of Colin Murphy in fan voting for the Hobey Baker Award, college hockey’s most prestigious individual achievement.


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