By: Collin Schuck – IceRays Staff
Jun. 22, 2017
CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – If you ask any business or industry professional, especially in the sports industry, what will help you move up, most would bet that the person’s response would be similar to the following: networking, experience and a little bit of luck. That’s not to say it always functions that way, but when the guidance pays off it has a high reward.
Just ask Angus Scott, one of the newest and final tenders for the 2017-18 IceRays season.
“I couldn’t be more excited to come to Corpus Christi,” said Scott. “I know [Head Coach] Brad Flynn, and I’ve talked to him over the last couple of years. It hadn’t worked out in the past, but I’m glad it worked out this year. Everything I’ve heard about the organization is top-notch, from the success of the team to the fan support.”
The two first connected when Scott was still in Midget AAA with Notre Dame and Flynn was still with the Swan Valley Stampeders in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL). Flynn’s father, Danny, saw Scott play and recommended him to his son. Since that time, the two have touched base every so often, checking on Scott’s development and, depending on where Flynn has been since that time, if something could work between the two of them.
That connection finally paid off this summer.
“He was dominant in Midget AAA, playing with a former player I coached in Acadie-Bathurst, Yegor Popov,” said Flynn on Scott. “Since then, Angus has been in the AJHL, putting up good numbers in a physical league that is compatible to the style of play of the South Division. I really like Angus’s hockey sense, skill, size and veteran leadership.”
Despite his background, Angus Scott–yes, pronounced like the beef–is an American, born and raised for the better part of his life in Salt Lake City, Utah. That’s also the home of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, where Team USA put up one of the best performances in the Winter Olympics for the country, including 34 total medals (2nd best behind 2010’s 37 medals, 10 gold medals (best), 13 silver medals (2nd best), and the only year where Team USA has earned at least 10 gold, silver and bronze medals in a single Olympics. That kind of success pays off in the long run for a host city and its attention to grass roots winter sports development.
Scott has seen that come first-hand throughout his childhood, even practicing and playing in Olympic facilities, even though he doesn’t remember much about those Olympic games.
“The Olympics actually really helped for hockey in Utah,” Scott stated. “We got some nice facilities out of it and a growing hockey community. It was always really easy growing up to get ice time at some really nice facilities. I don’t remember the Olympics really well at all. My dad was at the gold medal game between Canada and the U.S.”
Canada beat Team USA 5-2 that year to win the gold medal. Coincidentally, Scott chose to go to Canada instead of staying in Utah to continue his hockey development at the recommendation of his Canadian-born hockey coach. Better competition, better development, bigger hockey community. That brought Scott to Notre Dame Midget AAA, where by the time the Flynn’s saw him he had racked up 64 points in 44 games, sitting second on the team behind Popov, the player Flynn coached in the QMJHL.
That backs Flynn’s definition of “dominant,” and now Flynn will have had the chance to coach both top scorers, who combined for 136 of the team’s 375 points (36.27%), from that 2013-14 season.
“Angus’s experience and skill level is one reason I haven’t given up on the recruiting process over the last three years,” said Flynn. “He will have the opportunity to come in an give us a boost to our offense. He has playoff experience and nearly 150 games of junior experience. Those experiences are tried to be simulated in practice, but until you’re in games, until you’re in ‘must wins’, and until you go through the grind of junior hockey, it is very hard to replicate that experience.”
Scott’s experience began with the Lincoln Stars in the United States Hockey League (USHL), playing 33 total games while recording two goals and one assists for three points. An injury in the second half of the year hampered much of his future prospects at that level, so after the 2014-15 season he went back to Canada and the Alberta Junior Hockey League thanks to a connection from his former coach in Utah. He noted some of the differences between the USHL and AJHL but also the benefits of moving leagues.
“I was just looking for a little bit more playing time and exposure,” said Scott. “It was a good decision [for me]. The biggest difference is the physicality. There are some bigger kids up there. The level of play is still really high there and challenging.”
Over his last two seasons, he’s recorded 78 points (30 goals, 48 assists) through 112 games between the Camrose Kodiaks and the Spruce Grove Saints. This season, he finished third on the team in scoring with 41 points (15 goals, 26 assists) and added five more assists during the AJHL Playoffs. Speaking of playoffs, he has 21 games over the last two seasons to look back on with 10 points (goal, 9 assists) during that time.
During that time, he had always kept the NAHL on his radar, knowing he wanted to return to the U.S. and not only finish his junior career but also take the next step with his education at college, something the NAHL continues to produce. Without a work Visa and larger school opportunities, the fit was right to make a return to his home country for larger exposure and better schools, and on the other side, the 6-foot-3, 216-pound center was luckily the right fit for the IceRays as well.
“I think my style of play and his coaching style fit nicely playing a fast-paced game. I’m kind of a power forward-type player with some skill as well. It fit into his game plan, and he’s echoed the treatment the players get and the fan support. I’m an older player with a couple years of junior experience, so I want to come in and be a leader and contribute. The goal is to help the team win a championship and get a scholarship.”
It may have taken three years, but the formula paid off. Networking: check. Experience: check. Luck: check. Again, it’s not to say that’s the only or best method to advance, but it’s something Angus Scott won’t discredit.
Collin Schuck is the Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations for the Corpus Christi IceRays. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @CollinDSchuck.