“It’s been great,” said Admirals captain Scott Ford of his time playing in Milwaukee. “I embraced the city and the city has embraced me. It’s been an unbelievable experience.”
This season marks defenseman Scott Ford’s sixth professional campaign with the Milwaukee Admirals. In that time he has created a legacy of hard work and leadership that very few have matched in the history of the team.
Head Coach Dean Evason on Scott Ford’s importance to the Admirals:
Ford’s hockey playing career started with inspiration from the classic Edmonton Oilers teams of the 80’s and his father – who was a goaltender. His family’s support provided the backdrop on what would be an incredible journey en route to becoming a professional hockey player.
Ford’s inspirations for playing hockey:
His career began with the Merritt Centennials of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). He enjoyed three-seasons of junior “A” hockey: playing in 157 games, scoring 61 points (14 goals, 47 assists), and tallying 320 penalty minutes.
It was his next step that was far greater than playing the game of hockey itself. He left junior hockey to attend Brown University where he could both play the game of hockey and also attend college as a student. By doing so, Scott Ford became the first member of his family to attend college. Alongside his four-year playing career with the ivy league Brown Bears hockey team – he earned a degree in Liberal Arts.
Ford talks about his time at Brown University:
At Brown he played in 118 games, scored 47 points (15 goals, 32 assists), and logged 130 minutes in the penalty box. Upon his graduation in 2004, he would go undrafted and play between the Cleveland Barons of the AHL and Fresno Falcons of the ECHL during the 2004-05 season. The next season he would have two stints in the AHL with two different teams to go along with a second trip down to the ECHL: Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL), Trenton Titans (ECHL), and Providence Bruins (AHL). He would spend the entirety of his 2006-07 season with the Dayton Bombers of the ECHL. In 2007-08, he would play for the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL before a second tenure with the Sound Tigers in the AHL.
Then came the start of a perfect match. Scott Ford and the Milwaukee Admirals organization.
His first game came on October 11, 2008 on the road against the San Antonio Rampage – a 3-1 Admirals win. Since, he has gone on to play more games than any Admiral in the AHL history of the team. With each and every game he re-sets his own record. And with each and every game he is a leader of the team.
Evason will often give Ford the room during intermissions:
His lone season without a letter in front of his jersey was his first with the team in 2008-09. After that, he was an alternate captain from 2009-10 to 2010-11. Ahead of the 2011-12 season he was officially named team captain.
“It’s an honor,” said Ford of being the captain of the Admirals. “I really see it as just a letter on a jersey but I am very fortunate to be bestowed that honor. I’m not the most youthful guy in the locker room by any means, but I’ve been around and it’s just one of those things where I’ve learned from a lot of role model type guys, guys that were captains, and guys that were leaders before me. Whether it be on different teams, when I was young as a junior, college, and even at the professional level I’ve got to learn and watch a lot of good players and great captains. You take a little bit of what they do. I’m not too out of character any time during the day. What you see is what you get. I like to have fun. I’m there to talk to if need be. And I can be stern if need be, too. What you see is what you get and I’m just fortunate to have that honor.”
The next season he made the tough decision to leave Milwaukee in favor of an opportunity to play for the St. Louis Blues organization – where he would go on to play for their AHL affiliate the Peoria Rivermen – and also be named their team captain.
Ford’s decision to move from Milwaukee to the St. Louis Blues organization:
With a bulk load of veteran players in the system, Ford was becoming an odd-man out for the Rivermen. It was in February of last season when the Admirals pulled the trigger on a trade to re-acquire their former captain. The Ads traded forward Jani Lajunen to the Rivermen for Scott Ford. Upon his return to the team he was given the alternate captain’s patch alongside team captain Mike Moore and fellow alternate captain Mark Van Guilder. The return of Ford, paired with stellar performances in net by rookie netminder Magnus Hellberg, jolted the Admirals into a run that saw them earn the eighth and final playoff seed. It was the eleventh consecutive season in which the Admirals played playoff hockey.
Ford talks about Nashville’s impact on Admirals’ team success:
So what it is it about the city of Milwaukee that has been such a great fit for the native of British Columbia, Canada? The explanations from Ford are endless.
Embracing the city:
His relationship with the organization and community:
Socializing in Smallwaukee:
Ford’s relationship with the city of Milwaukee begins with Nolan Yonkman giving him a tour of the city in his first season with the team. Yonkman was given the nickname “The Mayor of Milwaukee” for his knowledge of the city and connections with so many people. When he left the Admirals, Ford filled into his role with the team and players starting calling him the Mayor. After a friendly reminder that the nickname was Yonkman’s – the team quickly called him the Sheriff.
The Origin Story of The Sheriff:
This is Scott Ford’s tenth professional season of hockey. In 614 games and counting worth of ECHL and AHL hockey he has yet of play in the National Hockey League. While he knows and accepts his place within the AHL – so much as playing that one game in the NHL would be a dream come true.
Ford’s NHL dream:
So, what would it take for him to achieve that one game?
When the curtain falls on his playing career, Ford’s ambitions are vast. He would love nothing more than to stick around the game of hockey – be it in a coaching, scouting, or even broadcasting capacity. Outside of the game, his love of interacting with people and communication can see him continue his path from his degree from Brown University: teaching.
Ford’s future plans:
It’s uncertain whether or not Scott Ford will ever get that one NHL game. What separates him from most is that he already doesn’t take his place as a professional hockey player for granted. What he does for a living is a privilege and he knows that. The more games he gets to play at any level of hockey is one more great day in the life of the Sheriff. Should his body of work ever see the NHL level – few could argue of a more deserving moment for a player beloved by his teammates, coaches, front office, and fans.
Full Scott Ford Interview (18 minutes):