Scott Darling Pays it Forward in Phoenix
Scott Darling’s life story made the rounds when the Chicago Blackhawks nominated him as the team’s Masterton Trophy candidate at the end of the 2014-15 season.
That story started with a late round draft selection losing first his starting gig at the University of Maine for too much drinking, then his opportunity to join the club that drafted him.
Next came a drop to the SPHL, and finally a drop out of one of the lowest levels of minor pro hockey in the United States for spiraling poor habits. Scott Darling, now one of the NHL’s regular backup goaltenders, almost lost his ability to play pro hockey altogether due to tough circumstances and anxiety-driven alcohol abuse.
That’s made the 27 year old netminder appreciate what he has all the more, though – and with the emergence of one of the league’s best feel-good stories of the year, it appears that he’s also taken his appreciation for how much a helping hand can really change someone’s life to make a difference for someone else.
Goaltender Kane Van Gate of the BHL Life video series posted a story on Twitter February 7th detailing an incident involving Darling that he heard while playing in a tournament in Phoenix, Arizona. It quickly went viral, and it’s easy to see why:
Here’s another example of hockey players being awesome people… pic.twitter.com/mR1eNNB97F
— Kane Van Gate (@KVanGate38) February 8, 2016
It’s easy to question the validity of these Mother Theresa stories – after all, it’s a tale from a friend of a friend, who heard it from his Uber driver of all people – but Darling himself acknowledged the tale on Twitter just a few hours later.
The first half of Scott Darling’s life story is a cautionary tale against alcohol as a coping mechanism for anxiety, but the second half is much happier. A former trainer made Darling work for his ice time to get back into shape, then Nashville Predators goaltending coach Mitch Korn gave him a second chance in the team’s minor league system; it took time, but Darling himself managed to get from rock bottom back to the top. He’s living proof that sometimes, someone just needs a helping hand to get back onto their feet.
His reaction to the way his life has turned out? He’s just paying it forward.