Story of a… Hockey Player

At 24, Solar Bears forward Scott Tanski is already a veteran—and he still has all his teeth.

Born in a small rural town in Alberta, Canada, Tanski was serious about hockey early on—he learned to skate beginning at age 3 in his mom’s backyard garden. “My dad would use a hose to flood it when it got cold enough. Every day I’d shovel it and spend countless hours practicing my fundamentals.”

Tanski saw his minor-league career quickly take off during five seasons with the Brampton Battalion, based in Ontario. After turning pro he played for the American Hockey League’s Connecticut Whale before joining the Solar Bears in 2012 for their inaugural “Out of Hibernation” season (the team played its first stint in Orlando from 1995 to 2001). Tanski has logged the most games of any Bears player in its two-year history.

“I’m not a guy who puts a crazy amount of numbers on the board or does anything overly exceptional. I can remember one time last year on a Saturday night in a packed house, I got a pass and scored an overtime goal. That hadn’t happened since I played in the minor leagues.” 

“I definitely think that my hair has played a part in my popularity,’’ Tanski says, referring to his trademark red locks flowing from beneath his helmet, which helped him become a fan favorite. But after the close of last season, he cut his hair and donated it to Locks of Love, which makes wigs for children who have lost their hair because of disease or cancer treatment. Tanski says it was tough parting with his hair, but donating it was something he had planned since he started growing it long three years ago. 

A recent injury has drawn more attention than his shorn locks. “During my first exhibition game this season, I hit my hand into the boards and tore a ligament in my thumb. Orlando doctors repaired it and now it’s just a matter of getting back in shape.” 

“Injuries are just part of the game and happen to a lot of players. Your mindset is what helps to overcome them. I’ve had pucks in the mouth but I still have all my teeth. I’ve broken my nose nine times so far.” 

“I won’t be satisfied until our season ends with a championship. I also am not satisfied unless we beat the Florida Everblades. They’re our in-state rivals, and I have to beat them every time.” 

Categories: People, Sports & Fitness