📝 by Nicole Del Villano | AHL On The Beat
Just a short drive from his hometown of Burlington, Ontario, Justin Scott took the ice on Oct. 24 in Toronto for a monumental moment of his career and Cleveland Monsters history.
Scott skated into the record books by appearing in his 265th game for Cleveland, passing Cameron Gaunce for the most games played in franchise history.
Not only did Scott earn the title of “Mr. Monster,” but he got the chance to do it in front of a group of close to 30 family and friends.
“It was good to see the support from all of them,” said Scott. “I think [the group attending the game] was a combination of the milestone and people haven’t been out of the house in a while. It was exciting and something I know my family was looking forward to. That picture of my whole family [with me] after the game meant a lot and is something down the road I’m going to cherish.”
While Scott himself was not tracking how many games until this occasion hit, his coaches and teammates were aware and ready to make the night memorable. Starting with a solo lap at warmups, the team made sure Scott got the recognition he deserved along with a little ribbing.
“Usually you see some rookies doing [the solo warm up lap], but I thought it was funny,” said Scott. “I had some buddies there who were getting a good laugh from it.”
A special moment in Toronto as the new “Mr. Monster,” Justin Scott marks his franchise-record 265th appearance in a CLE uniform with a solo lap prior to warmup. Catch Marlies-Monsters rd. 1/6 at 4 pm EST on FOX Sports 1350 #TheGambler & #AHLTV! pic.twitter.com/jAuDcqy3yw
— Tony Brown (@TonyBrownPxP) October 24, 2021
After a back-and-forth game throughout the night, the Monsters called on Scott in the third round of the shootout with the hopes of staying alive to search for the win.
“It meant a lot to get that chance,” said Scott. “I had an idea where my family was all sitting, and it was actually right behind that net. I like feeling a bit of pressure, but that moment meant a lot and [my family] liked it.”
Though the outcome of the game was not what they wanted, the significance of the night was just as important to the other Monsters skaters. For six seasons, Scott has been a crucial part of the team and a core piece of the leadership group, even wearing an “A” on his sweater for the last two campaigns.
“He means a lot to the team this year and every other year,” said Monsters captain Dillon Simpson. “That is a guy that comes to work every day and is a great presence in the locker room. Guys love him and he will always give you 100 percent.”
Scott’s presence in the locker room has also become a piece that the coaching staff depends on. Not only does the forward’s positive attitude pick up the room, but his mentality towards the game and job at hand is essential to his development as well as others.
“I think at this level it is critically important to have good pros around your young players in a development league. Scotty is that example every year,” said assistant coach Mark Letestu. “No matter the role, he comes in prepared and ready to play.”
Looking back on his first role as a black ace during the Monsters’ 2016 Calder Cup championship run, Scott remembered fondly his earliest impressions of what the organization and city had in store for him. Noted as one of his favorite moments of his career, Scott continues to still feed off that energy and use it as a motivation.
“The goal is always the same. You want to play in the NHL and get better every day,” said Scott. “It is cliche but that’s what keeps me personally motivated. I like the people on this team, the management, coaching staff and trainers… It is something that is a big reason I keep coming back.”
Playing in front of the Monsters fans is another benefit of coming back that Scott does not take lightly. Thinking back on the atmosphere Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse has had over his six seasons, the city and fans are a piece of the puzzle that keeps Scott calling Cleveland his home.
“It is ridiculous the amount of respect I have for the city and the fans and how much support we get from them especially in the AHL. It is just amazing,” said Scott.