Scott McCulloch the Texas STARS Canadian Cowboy
We walked into Mozart’s Cafe to meet Scott McCulloch. He sat relaxed in a pair of jeans and a black t-shirt. He was deeply captivated by an Austin Chronicle article in the Arts and Life Section. As we approached Scott, he stood up, shook our hands firmly, and looked at us in the eyes confidently. His presence was powerful but not uncomfortable. We asked him if we could get him something from the bakery but he declined with a smile the size of Canada and said, “I would, but I just buried an apple pie!” If we could give you a brief bio of Scott, we would describe him as the left wing for the Texas STARS hockey team, but when you meet him you realize he is a 23-year-old Canadian Cowboy with a passion for life.
We sat outside to begin the interview and tried to keep it professional. Our first question was, “So how did all of this come about for you to play professional hockey?” He looked at us with a blank stare. We weren’t sure if we asked him an offensive question. He finally said, “It’s just what you do. I started skating at the age of three. My dad played, my oldest sister figure skated, my older brother played for Harvard, and my little brother was a player. It’s an awesome game. It’s filled with great guys and great stories. It is the greatest job I could ever ask for.” We realized Scott had something deep inside of him that loved this game. You could tell it brought him excitement, joy and contentment. We asked Scott, “Can you tell us a story from the ice?” He paused, “It is hard to put into words if you haven’t been out on the ice playing. But imagine you are one of those players. They are like your brothers, and you have a connection with them. You are down by a goal and you pull your goalie. The crowd is so loud; you can’t hear anything on the ice. You know the time is ticking and you get the puck and then with .07 seconds left on the clock, you score! Your team piles up and all you hear is the siren going off and screaming of fans and for that moment nothing in the world compares. That feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment after scoring the goal with seconds on the clock is the best in the world!” Scott works against a clock in the game but he’s spending his clock of life wisely because he is spending it doing something he loves.
What Scott experiences every day is a sense of fulfillment playing the game he is passionate about. Ever since he was six years old he told his parents he wanted to play professional hockey. He is living his dream! He isn’t building his resume by taking jobs that will help him climb a corporate ladder. He is doing what he loves now because, unlike the clock in the game, you are unsure how much time you have left on your personal scoreboard. To illustrate the uniqueness of Scott’s hockey career, the Harris poll surveyed 23,000 Americans that are in key markets of industry and only 1 in 5 said they know what their organization is trying to accomplish and what their team’s purpose is. In other words that would be saying that practically only 1 player on the ice rink would know what they are supposed to do during the game or which goal is theirs to shoot on or protect. It was an enlightening moment to know that Scott embraces his role on the Texas STARS team, and that he loves every minute of it.
He shared stories about bus rides, his college career and the STARS record. “I just really love hockey, in fact, if I were to go home right now to visit I would lace it up with the family and play some pond hockey.” We noticed that Scott’s enthusiasm is contagious and we laughed and couldn’t wait to come watch him at the next home game. Before we left we asked him a bit of a personal question, “Scott what was your first lesson in hockey that you carried with you. “ He stood up and said, “You know the first lesson I can remember is my dad and I on the pond he taught me how to hit.” We laughed again and looked forward to the game Friday night.
As fate would have it, we showed up at the game and took our seats. The music was loud and the fans were excited; the opponent that night was the Manitoba Moose. We sat by a man wearing a full suit and carrying a clip-board who sat alone. I turned to him and said, “You must be one of two things, a reporter or a scout.” He said he was the latter and he asked why we were at the game with ties. We replied we were ‘writers’ running an article on Scott McCulloch. He asked why we were running the article. We replied, “Because he’s a fan heart-throb and he sells tickets.” He raised his eyebrows. It wasn’t but two minutes later when Scott’s dad’s lessons showed up as he checked a Moose into the boards, instigating a collective hockey fight. After he was released from the box, Scott made a perfect pass to the tape of one of his teammates, earning an assist on the goal. The crowd went wild and the scout laughed and said, “I guess you were right.” Everyone once in a while you meet someone who is genuinely enthused about what they do everyday and are truly, ‘living the dream!’