Steve Yzerman, a three-time Stanley Cup winner and 20-year captain of the Detroit Red Wings, was renowned not just as one of the great hockey players of all-time, but also for his quiet and steady leadership. A surefire future Hall-of-Famer, Yzerman’s skilled, unselfish play and will to win captivated legions of hockey fans, including a young Topher Scott, now a junior and an assistant captain on the men’s hockey team.
“My favorite hockey player growing up was Steve Yzerman. He has always been an idol of mine,” Scott said, “He is a great captain and a great leader, and he can also put a lot of points up on the board. He is someone I try and model my game after on and off the ice.”
Both Yzerman and Scott are undersized, gritty players who are known for their hard-work and love of the game. Scott, like Yzerman, always plays hard, and so far, the effort and determination have translated into results.
After an impressive freshman season in which Scott finished fourth on the team with 24 points, tops among underclassmen, he powered through last season with no trace of a sophomore slump. Scott led the team with 22 assists, while finishing tied for second in points with 28 on the year. This season, Scott has come out of the gate firing on all cylinders, leading the Red to a 5-3 win over RIT on Oct. 28 with a goal and two assists. For Scott, however, it has always been about the team.
“I just want to come in here every day and work hard to get better. As a team, we want to continue to improve together, with the ultimate goal of winning the ECACs and getting back to the NCAAs,” Scott said.
It is this selfless attitude and fierce dedication that have not only endeared Scott to the Lynah Faithful, but to his teammates and his coach as well.
“It’s always great to have guys who come in and work hard, but also do it with a smile on their face,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86, “Topher is one of those guys. He is very dedicated, a hard worker and we really appreciate what him and [senior captain] Byron [Bitz] bring to this team in terms of leadership.”
With this in mind, Scott does not take the role of assistant captain lightly.
“It means a lot to be the assistant captain of this team. It is really special to be able to just come in here and work hard and set an example for the guys,” Scott said.
Scott has developed into the Red’s premier offensive playmaker, and despite giving up height and size to his opponents — he stands 5-6 and weighs in at 160 — Scott is always more than willing to get into the corner and fight for the puck, something that is not lost on his teammates.
“Topher is a great guy and it’s a good thing he’s wearing a letter. He is a leader in the dressing room, he comes to work every day, and he is just a performer out there,” said junior defenseman Doug Krantz. “Physical size just isn’t a factor. He plays like he is 6-3 and he is always the first one into the corner, battling for the puck.”