Taking Liberties With… Scooter Vaughan
Position: Defenseman, Chicago Wolves (AHL)
Last Amateur Team: University of Michigan (NCAA D-I)
Youth Teams: In-house in Anaheim, California Wave
California Rubber: You recently received the AHL Man of the Year Award for your charitable work and community involvement. Where does that rank among your many career accomplishments?
Scooter Vaughan: It’s probably at the top of the list. I didn’t understand the magnitude at the time I won. It goes back to my parents (Charles or “Skip” and Orian) – we’re a people-first family. We’ve always been involved in charitable work. There are roughly 1,400 hockey players in the NHL and AHL. There’s not much difference in hockey if you’re not a Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid, so you’ve got to establish yourself in the community. We are fortunate to play a sport. The least I can do is try to help people who want to get involved in the game or just need help. It’s nice to get recognized, but that’s not why I do it.
CR: You have a variety of interests outside of hockey. What sparked those?
SV: My mother was very keen on me being cultured. She made a point when we went to New York to take me to see a play, see the Museum of Natural Science, things out of the ordinary of the typical beach life. I love surfing, but I did a lot of cool, off-the-beaten-path things as a kid. My mom is a lawyer and my dad is a chemical engineer for Pepsi. They’re the two hardest working people I know.
CR: What is your favorite hockey memory growing up?
SV: When we were Pee Wees, our 1989 team coached by Jack Bowkus was known as the Westminster Wave. We went to Silver Sticks in Toronto and beat all sorts of teams that were phenomenal. There is a Westminster in Ontario, and people thought we were from there because “no way a team from California was that good.” We changed our name to California Wave so people knew where we were from.
CR: What is your favorite memory in the game since leaving California?
SV: There are a few things. Winning a NAHL title and being coached by (current Tampa Bay Lightning coach) Jon Cooper. But my junior year in college, our top two goalies got hurt, and we won out every game with our third-string goalie – my roommate Shawn Hunwick. We then went to Michigan State and swept Sparty to go to the CCHA tournament, which we won and kept Michigan’s 20-plus year streak of going to the NCAA Tournament alive.
CR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice?
SV: My parents were very into me being my own person and finding my own path. Jack Bowkus was my first AAA coach and I wouldn’t be anywhere without him. He’s one of the finest coaches I’ve had.
CR: When you’re back in California, do you have a favorite meal or restaurant?
SV: In-N-Out. They’re in San Antonio and Austin now, so I can get it during the AHL season. Del Taco is another California delicacy.
CR: If you weren’t playing pro hockey, what do you think you’d be doing?
SV: I’m already doing things that will lead into my career post hockey. There is the Kids for Camps charity. We pay for the camp, they just have to find transportation. That’s a big passion for me. I’m also into real estate and have a Christmas company called Swaggy Clause. I definitely will not work for someone unless it’s a friend. Camps give kids hope and inspiration. It’s not just hockey camps, it could be band camp, YMCA camp.
Photo/Ross Dettman Photography/Chicago Wolves
— Compiled by Chris Bayee
(Sept. 6, 2018)