By Joel Badzinski | LaCrosse Tribune |Wednesday, March 30, 2011
ONALASKA – Berkley Scott was more than just a name on another team's roster when Coulee Region Chill management traded for him last June.
Chill assistant coach Todd Sanden worked with Scott for years in the Anoka, Minn., youth programs. Chill head coach Garrett Strot saw Scott twice a year in high school when he was leading the Osseo, Minn., program and Scott was a star at Anoka.
But before the Chill committed to a deal that would bring Scott from the NAHL's Alaska Avalanche to Coulee Region, they had get some things straight.
"We met with him before the trade because there were some questions," Strot said. "I asked him, ‘Why did you have such a bad reputation in high school?' He wasn't the greatest teammate, and he owned up to it. He's probably grown up a lot. The guys love him in the locker room, and he's been a great teammate. I'm really happy with the way things have gone."
Scott, 20, wasn't offended by the interview. He was glad to show how far he'd come since a self-described "immature" stretch in high school that almost overshadowed the talent that made him a Minnesota All-State player.
"To be honest, in high school I wasn't a great teammate," Scott said. "My senior season we were a young team, and I was just getting frustrated, not positive at all. Being in juniors has been a big eye-opener."
Scott scored 38 points in 55 games for Alaska. He asked the Avalanche for a trade to the new Coulee Region franchise at the end of last season, knowing Strot and Sanden were there, and found out the Chill were thinking about him, too.
Strot didn't hesitate to endorse the deal after his face-to-face meeting with Scott early in the summer.
What Coulee Region got was a 6-foot-4, 195-pound highly skilled forward with tons of potential. Scott got a fresh start with a team much closer to home.
"It's been nice for me because I know the best of Berkley and also the other factors," Sanden said. "I think after sitting down with him and Garrett asking him the tough questions, he just put it on himself. That being said, he's been a great teammate and he's been great to work with."
This season, Scott finished fourth on the team in scoring with 44 points, including 12 goals and 32 assists. He's played on the top power-play unit most of the season and leads the team with 13 power-play assists.
"He's the type of player you'd like to be on a line with because he does move the puck; he's a very unselfish player," Strot said. "It doesn't surprise me that he has a lot of assists. And he probably could shoot more."
Scott hears that all the time.
"Coaches have been getting on me to shoot, shoot, shoot. That's what I did in high school. My linemates here are great, and now I'd rather pass and set up a guy."
Coulee Region faces the Owatonna Express in Game 1 of a first-round series 7 p.m. Friday at the OmniCenter.
Scott could be a difference-maker for the Chill in the playoffs. He was the team's top scorer against Owatonna this season, with 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 11 games.
"He's going to be a key for us because he can take a team and just carry it," Strot said. "That's what we need from him. He might be one of the most skilled players in the league."