Let it never be said Wolves defenseman Scooter Vaughan doesn’t make the most of his time.
During the offseason, Vaughan embarked on one vacation to Spain and the Czech Republic and another to Rio de Janeiro. He visited his parents in Atlanta and his friends in California. He lived in a house with NHL players in Michigan, which led to a weekend spent with the Stanley Cup.
Now he’s back with the Wolves and ready to make the most of his second season with the organization.
“I’m really excited to come back,” Vaughan said. “It’s a year for us to bounce back and show the league what we can do.”
The 27-year-old Vaughan, perhaps the team’s most versatile player, delivered 3 goals and 11 assists in 68 games last year while splitting time between defense and right wing.
“There are very few players in the league who can play forward and defense as effectively as Scooter can,” said Wolves general manager Wendell Young. “He’s like having two players in your lineup. He brings something to the table on both ends of the ice.”
Two days after last season ended, Vaughan and teammate Jeremy Welsh hopped a plane to Spain. They packed light – Vaughan poked fun at Welsh for bringing two backpacks compared to his one — and toured Madrid, Barcelona and Montepío over the course of three weeks before heading to Prague for three days.
“Everything was amazing,” Vaughan said. “We spent some of the time on the beach lounging and relaxing, but I don’t ever stop working out. I find a gym wherever I go. Me and ‘Welshie’ would run and we bought exercise bands to take to the beach.”
Vaughan’s next bit of globetrotting came over Memorial Day weekend when he purchased a round-trip ticket to Rio for $58. How’d he get such a great deal? During last season, he’d put all of the team’s outings and events on his credit card. He wound up with 100,000 points, which led to that ridiculous price.
After hanging for three weeks in California with friends – and nearly executing a deal to join HC Slovan Bratislava in the Kontinental Hockey League – Vaughan headed to Michigan to start training in earnest for the season. He has been buddies with Detroit Red Wings center Luke Glendening since they played together at the University of Michigan, so he moved into his house. His roommates included the Red Wings’ Dylan Larkin and Riley Sheahan.
“We’d have 25 AHL and NHL players skating and working out together,” Vaughan said.
During his Michigan stay, Vaughan spent a weekend with the Stanley Cup as part of his workout crew enjoyed the fruits of their labor with the champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
Vaughan became as close as brothers with Matt Rust while they played at Michigan and Matt’s brother, Bryan, brought the Cup to suburban Detroit on Aug. 13. The next day, Michigan alum Kevin Porter – one of Vaughan’s workout partners for the last eight years — had his turn with the Cup in Plymouth, Mich.
Vaughan’s key takeaway from his weekend spent with hockey’s holy grail?
“It makes you want to strive for the championship.”