Ex-NHLer John Scott Recalls Near-Death Experience After Falling into Frozen Lake

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2019

MONTREAL, QC - APRIL 05:  John Scott #22 of the Montreal Canadiens skates during the NHL game against the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre on April 5, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Florida Panthers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-1.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Former NHL enforcer John Scott was never one to shy away from a challenge on the ice, but the 36-year-old nearly met his match while going outside for a skate recently.

In an interview with The Athletic's Chris Kuc, Scott recounted how he nearly died when he fell through the ice on Cedar Lake in Traverse City, Michigan.

He said he headed down to the lake in order to clear off a patch of ice for skating. The ice cracked as soon as he stepped on to it, and he went into the water below.

"I tried to hoist myself up but I couldn't do it, and there was no way I could get to a part where I could walk up because at the end of my dock it's probably 20 feet deep and I couldn't get around to where the beach starts, so I was like, 'Either I get up on the dock or I don't get up at all.' I managed to find a somewhat solid piece of ice to put my foot up on and kind of hoist myself up luckily."

Scott told Kuc he was in the water for about a minute before getting to safety, and he added that he didn't comprehend the gravity of the situation until he returned to his home: 

"I didn't want to scare my kids or my wife but when they saw me and started saying, 'Oh, my gosh what happened?' then you kind of realize, what happened if? They were going to help me shovel but I just got a head start. I would have been dead when they got there, you know? It's scary to think of that."

Scott said he and his family are "going to maybe take this winter off" and avoid trying to skate on the lake. He shared a video Monday on Instagram in which he showed the hole he had made in the ice.

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Scott spent eight seasons in the NHL and played for seven different teams. In what proved to be his final year, the fans famously voted Scott in as an All-Star captain in 2016. He was named All-Star MVP after scoring two goals in the Pacific Division's 9-6 win over the Central Division.