Skip to main content

Dave Scatchard: Making A Difference On The Ice And Off

Dave Scatchard was a solid centerman best known for playing with the Vancouver Canucks and New York Islanders. He once scored 27 goals in a season, but he was best suited as a third line pivot who used his size to wear down the opposition. He was a very responsible player defensively who, unfortunately, ran in to serious injury problems. Ultimately a concussion ended his career.

As a NHL veteran Dave Scatchard led a pretty privileged life. But he also took his opportunity as a privilege to make a difference. And that he did for a 17 year old cancer patient back in Long Island.

Here's a Chris Botta story that sums up Dave Scatchard the man:

For the previous four months, the Islanders center had befriended a 17-year old named Adam Novellano. Despite a valiant battle with cancer for most of his teenage years, Adam was told it would be better for him to return to his Islip home and receive treatment with his family at his side. He never lacked for visitors because Adam was a kid everyone liked. Still, he didn't complain when his buddy "Scatch" came over because the only thing Adam loved as much as his family and his girlfriend was hockey.

Posters of the NHL's stars were all over Adam's walls. Scatchard gave Adam a signed picture of himself but said, "I know I don't belong on the same wall with Fedorov and Lemieux and Roenick." The next time Scatchard came over, his picture was mounted right next to Adam's bed.

Once every week or so, they would play hockey on Adam's PlayStation and his two brothers would freak out that a joystick held by the real Dave Scatchard was moving around Scatchard, the video game icon. Adam told his parents he was happy he was able to help his brothers become lifetime friends with a player from the New York Islanders.

You'd never had known that Adam was near the end of his battle with cancer because he always had a smile, always had a wicked remark. When Adam finally passed away late one night last winter, everyone except his family was surprised. The last time any of his friends had seen him, Adam was making plans.

Adam's doctor called an Islanders staff member the next morning with the sad news. The staffer immediately tried to get Scatchard on his cell phone because Islanders practice should have been near its conclusion. He got voicemail. Tried again. Still no luck. The staffer got in his car and drove from the Coliseum to Iceworks in Syosset. For the first time all season, Scatchard was the first one out of the rink.

Dave Scatchard didn't get the news, and here's why.

Turns out that near the end of practice, Scatchard started thinking about his buddy Adam and how he hadn't been to his house in more than two weeks. So the Islander left the ice, immediately picked up the phone and called Elaine Novellano to see if Adam was up for some PlayStation.

Maybe it was meant to happen this way. Mrs. Novellano told Scatchard that Adam had passed away the night before, only an hour or so after Dave had scored a goal in the Coliseum for the Islanders. Dave told Mrs. N. how lucky she was to have been blessed with such an incredible child. They cried together.

Then Mrs. Novellano asked Scatchard for a favor: "You know, it would probably really help Adam's brothers if you still came over. What do you say"?

Said Scatchard, "I'll be there in a half an hour."

Little more than 12 hours after Adam had passed away, Dave Scatchard of the New York Islanders was in Islip trying to ease the pain of his family and friends.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M