Longtime Arizona youth coach Shott remembered as humble, genuine
Even after getting a cancer diagnosis, Chuck Shott still found a way to maintain his unique sense of humor.
Shott, who coached youth hockey teams in Arizona the better part of 1986-2006, passed away Sept. 22 at the age of 62 in the Phoenix area after a 14-month battle with lung cancer. He leaves behind his sons, Matt, 28, and Trevor, 20 (pictured above).
Matt, currently the Arizona Coyotes manager of amateur hockey development, assistant coach of the Arizona State women’s hockey team that will start play in 2016-17 and 16U AAA and 19U AAA Arizona Lady Coyotes coach, said he has nothing but great memories of his father.
“When he was diagnosed, he had a window of 8-14 months, so he made the whole 14 months,” Shott said. “It was Stage 4 right when we found out, so we knew there was low percentage of survival. Our big thing as a family was to stay positive. My dad kept his sense of humor all throughout. A while back, he called up a friend of his and told him that the research is true – smoking does cause cancer. His buddy asked what that meant and my dad said, ‘Yep, I got cancer.’ My dad’s friend wasn’t sure if it was a joke and if he could laugh. That was the way my dad was. I’ll always remember that.”
The late Shott was born in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough, Ont., and moved to California in 1980 in search of warmer weather. He started work with a landscaping company before purchasing his own business and venturing east to the Phoenix area in 1986 where he quickly caught on with the local youth hockey programs at AZ Ice Chandler and the former Phoenix Polar Bears organization.
“My dad coached me my first Pee Wee year at Chandler, but he never liked fathers on the bench as coaches,” Shott explained. “He stopped coaching my team and went to the Mite teams where he coached a lot of kids that have moved up. Guys like Cody Gylling (Arizona State) and Jaxon Castor (future commitment to ASU, now with United States Hockey League’s Dubuque Fighting Saints), Michael Caravella and Griffin Ames (both with WSHL’s Phoenix Knights), Preston Ames (ASU D-II Elite) and Connor Stuart (NAHL’s Odessa Jackalopes) all played for my dad when they were younger and I’d like to think he taught them a little bit about the game.”
Shott told a story of his father and Castor that still gets talked about today, as recent as his father’s celebration of life memorial in late September.
“My dad cut Jaxon from one of his Mite teams one year,” Shott remembered. “My dad said he already had a goalie and didn’t need two. Eventually, he realized he made a mistake and called Jaxon and asked him to come play for his team, and he did. The family always kept in touch with my dad and would always rub that in his face, but in a joking way.”
When Chuck moved to Oregon in 2006, Chuck got involved in the Oregon youth hockey scene and like in Arizona, did it with little to no fanfare.
“My dad was always just a coach and never cared for the politics,” Shott said. “He never wanted the recognition. I remember him taking me on the ice at Oceanside when I was probably five and I cried like a baby because I thought the ice was going to melt and I’d fall through. I then switched to roller hockey for a few years and he used to tell me, ‘You’ll come back around.’ I see things in the way I coach that I took from him and just recently, some of his friends were at his memorial and Trevor and I went to dinner with these guys and they told stories of my dad and I caught myself saying, ‘Wow, I did that, too.’
“Would I like to have him back to the person he was 14 months ago? Of course. I miss him, obviously, but I know he’s better off where he is now.”
— Matt Mackinder