Hossack was a member of New Zealand national team
St. Marys native traveled to many parts of the world with that country's men's hockey team
Scott Hossack, front row right, is a member of the Shanghai Shamrocks, who play in a men's recreational league. Hossack returned to playing hockey this season after a 17-year hiatus. He and his wife Amy have been employed at Shanghai American School for 1
(Part 2 of a two-week feature)
By Pat Payton
Scott Hossack and his wife Amy have been in Shanghai, China for the past 17 years, both employed at the Shanghai American School (SAS). Their 13-year-old son Blake, who was born in Shanghai, is a Grade 8 student at the school.
Hossack, a 51-year-old St. Marys native, is currently home on a 'compassionate leave' from SAS to visit his dad Larry, mom Pat, and siblings Kathy, Reta and Ray. His plan is to return to Shanghai on Jan. 15 after a six-week visit. Larry Hossack, who has contracted Parkinson's, has been a resident at Wildwood Care Centre since Nov. 17.
Nine years in New Zealand
Scott Hossack recently sat down with the Independent and talked about his 28-year career in the education field, his travels and international hockey experiences.
Prior to accepting jobs in Shanghai, the Hossacks taught school in New Zealand for nine years and Scott played "quite a bit" of ice hockey as well. In fact, Hossack played at the highest level in that nation and for that island country. He was a member of the New Zealand national men's team for five years, including four as a player. The national squad is nicknamed the 'Ice Blacks.'
"I had to sit out a year while Canadian hockey gave me my release, so I coached that year," Hossack recalled.
His first year (1999), New Zealand competed in Spain at the Division 2 world championships. "That year, we played Spain, South Africa, Iceland and South Korea. We struggled losing to South Africa in the final minute of the game and were relegated that year."
The next year, Hossack played for New Zealand at the world championships in Mexico City. "There were only three teams, Mexico, North Korea and us, and we tied with Mexico, so we stayed in that division."
The following year, the Ice Blacks hosted the world championships in Auckland and they won Division 3. Other teams that competed in their division were Luxembourg and Turkey.
The next year, New Zealand got promoted to Division 2 again. That year, the championships were held in Croatia, and the 'Ice Blacks' finished high enough to stay in the division.
In Hossack's final year competing for New Zealand, the championships were held in Lithuania. "Again, we stayed up that year in the Second Division," he remembers.
Hossack talked about a couple of personal highlights with the national team. "I didn't score many goals because I played defence, but I remember scoring in the game against Luxembourg in Auckland.
"I also remember beating Turkey in Lithuania. This game was the difference between us staying up in the Second Division or being relegated. Turkey wouldn't allow us to do the 'Haka' (a national ceremonial dance) before the game. After we won, the fans were chanting for us to do the 'Haka', so we did it for them and it was a great atmosphere . . . something I'll always remember."
He recalled a couple of other memories from New Zealand hockey. He was captain of the Ice Blacks when they beat the Canadian Moose for the first time in a series on NZ soil, and was proud to see his name on game sheets in the International wing of the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame.
Today, New Zealand is still competing in the Second Division and is ranked 39th in the world by the IIHF. "There are usually 12 teams in that division, and New Zealand moves from the upper to the lower echelon of teams in that division," Hossack says.
Did a lot of coaching
Being involved with New Zealand hockey gave Hossack a lot of experiences and the opportunity to travel to many places in the world.
"I did a lot of coaching there," he said. "I coached the Auckland Senior team and the Under-16 Auckland team. It also sent me to Japan to an IIHF coaching clinic, with a lot of other countries represented. Countries like Pakistan and Singapore sent players, coaches and referees to this big coaching clinic. I did the 'Learn to Play' program and brought that back to Auckland.
"I was lucky, my school in New Zealand was very giving, and my principal would say, 'Yes, you can take a month off; we'll get a substitute (teacher) in and you can go and play. We'd do a three-week training camp; it was in Austria one year and two training camps were in Italy.
"Yes, I've traveled a lot for someone who hadn't traveled much until I got out of university," he added with a laugh.
Fond memories of minor hockey
Hossack also reflected back to his minor hockey days in St. Marys, and he has many fond memories.
He was a member of two All-Ontario championship teams. He played for the 1983-84 Thames Restaurant Bantams, coached by Jack Nairn, who won the provincial title in Uxbridge, and the 1987-88 Cement Midgets, coached by Stew McLennan, who defeated Ernestown (near Kingston) in the Ontario final.
"Even the Silver Stick teams I was on, and winning an International championship in Sarnia," he says. "That Midget team was coached by Wayne Jones."
Hossack has "vivid" memories of the '87-88 Cement Midget team and their hard-fought road to the provincial title.
"I remember the coaches bringing the team in before the playoffs, and saying, 'Hey guys, we can do this two ways. We can either go out there and play to win this, or we can give everybody equal ice time. But it's up to you guys to decide. We all said, 'we want to win, of course.'"
The series that everyone remembers is the quarter-finals against Kincardine. It was a best-of-seven series, and St. Marys won it in eight games. The eighth game was in Kincardine, after the teams had gone to overtime in Game 7 in St. Marys. The teams were still tied after OT, forcing another game back in Kincardine.
"Earlier in the series, I can remember going up to Kincardine, and Jeff Taylor was going in on a breakaway," Hossack recalled. "All of a sudden, the loud speaker made a huge sound and everybody on the ice stopped. We didn't score, and we ended up losing that game."
In overtime in Game 7 in St. Marys, Kincardine's best player skated in on a clear-cut breakaway, but was stopped cold by goalie Todd Campbell.
"It was a great series, and I'll always remember that team," he said. Some of the other players on that Midget team included: Captain Joe Weston, Bob Hearn, Rob Shrubsole, Scott Taylor, Rob Heard, J.P. Cousineau, Jesse Henderson, Derek Shackleton and goalie Bill Pauli.
"One of my memories about the '87-88 team is the pyramid that the coaches made," Hossack recalled. "We had many superstitions with this 15 lb. cement pyramid. It could not be left in the puck bucket tip down, certain people had to touch it in the proper order, and the score had to be written after each game.
"It was then buried and dug up at the reunion a few years ago. I was disappointed I missed the opening of the pyramid and all the stuff we had put in this time capsule."
Two years ago, the Hossacks returned home in February and Scott had hoped to play in St. Marys minor hockey's No-Body Contact tournament with his former Cement Midget teammates. However, Covid struck shortly after, shutting down hockey for the rest of that season.
Rec. league in Shanghai
Hossack noted that he recently resumed playing hockey after a 17-year hiatus. He's a member of the Shanghai Shamrocks, who play in a recreational league.
"I hadn't played hockey in 17 years. They have a pretty good system there. It's the first place I've ever been where I've been able to store my equipment at the rink," he said with a laugh.
"There's a few Chinese who play. We had our season championship the other night, and the guy who scored the winning goal used to play on the Chinese national team. My team got beat out on Dec. 3, but I had already left (to return to Canada)."
What has been the most satisfying thing about living and working in China, Hossack was asked.
"I think it's the many experiences that we've had, that working at our school has provided," he replied. "We get to travel to so many places. Blake has more stamps on his passport than many kids his age.
"You get a different perspective of things. Dealing with the many different people and cultures has been amazing for someone who hadn't traveled much at all. I'm a small-town boy, and I've been able to travel with high school students to countries like Hong Kong, the Philippines and Japan and coach."
While life in Shanghai is great for the Hossacks, they aren't ruling out a return to Canada in the future.
"Our plan is that Blake will graduate from Shanghai American School, and then we will probably move on," he says. "We will probably return home (to Canada), and see what happens. Blake is in Grade 8 now, and that's four years away. That's our plan."
â€“ After attending university at Laurentian in Sudbury, Scott Hossack went to teachers college in England. He then began his teaching career in New Zealand, now 28 years ago.
â€“Larry Hossack had a long teaching career (over 30 years). He taught mainly at Arthur Meighen public school in St. Marys after starting at A.J. Baker in Kintore. He is also a former Jr. 'B' Lincolns' captain.
â€“Pat Hossack was a talented athlete as well, playing on a couple of strong women's fastball teams (the Pullets and Jets) in St. Marys. She helped the Pullets win an All-Ontario Senior women's fastball championship in 1962.
Later in her career, Hossack got to play fastball with her daughter Kathy in Kirkton. Jim Rankin was the coach of that Blanshard team.