League says enforcer can keep spot in All-Star Game

Tue Jan 19, 2016 2:24pm EST
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(Reuters) - Enforcer John Scott, who was made an unlikely All-Star through fan voting before he was traded and demoted to the minors, will still get to play in the mid-season showcase, the National Hockey League said on Tuesday.

Scott, known more for fighting than scoring goals, was elected to captain the Pacific Division team while playing with the Arizona Coyotes after a comical and effective initiative to get him into a game meant to feature the game's top players.

His status was put in doubt last week when Arizona traded him to the Atlantic Division's Montreal Canadiens, who sent him to the American Hockey League and created a unique circumstance that could have made him ineligible for the game.

The trade sparked outrage across social media with some fans suggesting the NHL orchestrated the move in an effort to rid the Jan. 31 All-Star Game in Nashville of an unwanted distraction.

But the NHL said after its review that it was determined to maintain the status quo for the All-Star weekend in order to preserve all parties' pre-existing expectations, including Scott's desire to participate.

As a result, Scott, who has played limited ice time in the 11 games he has played this season, will have a chance to share in on the $1 million purse that goes to the winning team of the All-Star tournament.

"I am looking forward to enjoying a fun and unique experience at All-Star Weekend in Nashville with my family," Scott, who has 542 penalty minutes and a paltry five goals in 285 games, said in a statement released by the NHL.

"While being voted to the All-Star Game by the fans was not something I expected to happen, I am excited to participate in the All-Star events with my fellow players."

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)

File image of John Scott (20) fighting with Vancouver Canucks Tom Sestito (29) in a first period fight during their  NHL Preseason game at the Stockton Arena. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports