December 23, 1976 - Present
Birthplace: Anchorage, Alaska
Height: 5'11" Weight: 185
"It's an honor being the first Latino to play in the NHL, I'm sure there will more to follow" Latino hockey player Scott Gomez.
Scott Gomez was born and raised in a modest one family home in Anchorage, Alaska. His father, Carlos Gomez, a native of Mexico, moved there from San Diego in 1972 so he could take a construction job. It was in Alaska where Carlos met and married Dalia, a native of Colombia, who moved there from New York where she lived with her aunt.
Carlos and Dalia Gomez life story sounds like something straight out of Hollywood and is part of the reason Scott's talent has been given the support to strive.
When Scott Gomez was five years old, his father Carlos took him to a hockey game at the University of Alaska. He liked what he saw so he wanted to give it a try. "It was fun and fast and I wanted to play after that."
He family couldn't afford hockey equipment, so when the local Boys and Girls club handed out free equipment his father made sure he was the first on line.
His infatuation of playing hockey soon turned to hatred because he couldn't skate. When his father signed him up to play in a league, he did horribly. He was always offsides and the parents and coaches were always screaming at him. "I hated hockey so much," recalls Scott. "I didn't know how to skate."
He told his mom he wanted to quit and his mom, Dalia said "Yes, sure." But his father said "No" and told Scott to finish up the season and he did.
Scott then learned how to skate and soon thereafter, hockey was the only thing on his mind.
By the time Scott was thirteen years old his was earning praise from his play in hockey. As a 16-year-old, he finished second in scoring at South Surrey high school. He was named league rookie of the year and helped his team to finish runner-up at the Canadian Junior A National Championship.
Gomez played the following season as a 17-year-old for the Tri-Cities Americans of the Western Hockey League, a major-junior circuit that feeds the NHL.
Gomez was a stand-out and he worked hard on becoming even a better player. He would spend hours after school playing hockey perfecting his slap shot.
But there were obstacle he had to overcome outside of hockey.
Scott was often the target of racial slurs because of the rarity of his culture in the sport.
When he played for the "Select 16 USA Team," there were kids from different countries playing against each other, but he was the only one of Hispanic descent and he heard racist comments from opposing players.
One of the most vivid events was when a player of Asian heritage called Scott a "Spic" during a playoff game. At first, he didn't know what it meant, so he asked his mother and she told him. At first, it hurt him but then he just laughed it off because he knew he was going somewhere in hockey and those racial comments were usually coming from the worst player on the ice.
The Devils brought Scott to their training camp as an 18-year-old after being noticed during a tour with Team USA and he impressed general manager, Lou Lamoriello. At the age of 19, Scott Gomez was drafted by the New Jersey Devils as their #1 draft choice (27th overall).
When Gomez was drafted in 1999 by the Devils he also became a pioneer by becoming the first Latino ever to be drafted in the NHL. Scott, who doesn't speak fluent Spanish but understands it well, is still honored and proud of having that rare distinction. "It's something I'm proud of" said Scott. "It's a great honor being the first Mexican-American to play in the NHL.
In his first season (1999-2000) in the NHL, not only he had the distinction of being the first and only Latino playing in the NHL, he was also one of the top rookies in the league. "He is really talented," said teammate Jason Arnott. "He is unbelievable with the puck and he sees the ice really well."
His first NHL points came when he collected a pair of assists on Oct. 7 in the home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins. His first goal was scored on Oct. 16 against the Islanders.
He played so well, that by mid-season, he was already a top candidate to win the "Calder Trophy" which is awarded to the league's top first-year player. His great play even earned him a spot in Toronto at the All-Star Game, where he mingled some guys he idolized as a kid -- Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier.
At one moment when he was sitting in the locker room, chatting easily with Wayne Gretzky, when Mark Messier wandered over and extended his hand. Gomez isn't quite sure what happened then, though he's fairly certain he stopped breathing. "Sometimes," he said, "It can be kind of overwhelming."
In his first season, Scott Gomez led all NHL rookies with 70 points (19 goals, 51 assists). He broke Kevin Todd's Devils rookie records of 42 assists and 63 points set in 1991-92 and finished two short of Todd's mark of 21 goals by scoring 19.
That year, the Devils also made the playoffs and Scottie got to play in his first NHL Stanley Cup game. He scored his first goal against the tough Florida Panthers when he got a loose puck at the top of the circle and ripped a shot that just slithered past Mike Vernon into the net.
The Devils defeated the panthers in the opening series of the playoffs and captured their second Stanley Cup in six years when they defeated the Dallas Stars in double overtime of Game Six, 2-1.
The celebration began and Scott Gomez became the first rookie to win the Calder Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the same season since Kent Douglas of the Toronto Maple Leafs did it in 1963.
After playing in all 82 games during his rookie season, Scott appeared in first 58 games of sophomore season (2000-2001) to set Devils’ record for most consecutive games played at the start of a career.
Web site design,
development and maintenance by