Bettman: John Scott was always welcome at All-Star Game

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman tells the media that John Scott was always welcomed to participate in the All-Star Game and is happy Scott decided to play.

With the NHL taking some heat for the awkward handling of John Scott‘s all-star appearance, commissioner Gary Bettman wanted to clear the air.

Bettman offered his perspective Saturday at a press conference at All-Star Weekend in Nashville.

“There’s been a lot of discussion about the subject,” Bettman said during his media availability. “When John Scott won the popular vote, we announced him as the captain. There were a number of discussions with him, either NHL personnel or (Arizona) Coyotes personnel about whether or not he wanted to come.

“This was a campaign that was created. Maybe it was aimed at the league. Maybe it was aimed at the All-Star Game. Maybe it was aimed at John Scott. But he had a decision to make…Once he decided he wanted to be here, it was a closed issue from our standpoint.”

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Scott has become a polarizing figure across the hockey world since fans voted him as the captain for the Pacific Division all-star team. He wrote his side of the story in a first-person article for the Players’ Tribune earlier this week.

“This is not a game for you, John,” Scott said he was told by a league executive. “Do you think this is something your kids would be proud of?”

Bettman, who appeared a bit annoyed by the subject, wouldn’t get into what was said to Scott but believes the league has done its part to make him feel comfortable this weeekend.

“Those discussions aren’t relevant…We welcomed him here. There was never any issue about that, despite any commentary or suggestion to the contrary.”

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