John Scott allowed to play in NHL All-Star Game
Veteran enforcer's selection by fans created controversy
John Scott will captain the Pacific Division team at the NHL All-Star Game in Nashville, the league announced Tuesday.
Scott, a veteran enforcer with five goals and 542 penalty minutes in 285 NHL games, was voted a starter by fans after an online campaign caught momentum.
But his eligibility fell into question after he was traded last Friday from the Pacific's Arizona Coyotes to the Atlantic Division's Montreal Canadiens, and the Canadiens sent him to their minor-league affiliate in St. John's, Nfld.
The NHL reportedly wanted Scott to bow out of the All-Star Game, but Scott refused and fans backed him on social media with a FreeJohnScott hashtag over the weekend.
The league said in a news release Tuesday that it reviewed the "unique circumstance" and decided to allow Scott to captain the Pacific team "in order to preserve all parties' pre-existing expectations, including Scott's desire to participate."
The release quoted Scott as saying: "I am looking forward to enjoying a fun and unique experience at All-Star Weekend in Nashville with my family. 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."
This year's game is moving to a new format. Teams from each of the league's four divisions will compete in a single-elimination three-on-three tournament with 20-minute games.
The event takes place Jan. 31.
With files from The Associated Press