A mutual agreement between Scott Gomez and the Hershey Bears has been reached that allows the two-time Stanley Cup champion to be released from his professional tryout agreement.
After playing 18 of his eligible 25 on the PTO, Gomez made the decision over the weekend. He announced it to the team after the Bears dispatched the Utica Comets on Sunday night at GIANT Center – then made it a point to see every possible person who interacted with him at some point during his stay, including yours truly, when I just happened to be heading in to see the coaches like I always do after finishing up my night.
I’ll tell you some things that you probably would not have been able to see as a fan. First, “Gomer” was one of – if not THE – first person at the rink. In his arrival interview with us, Gomez said that he came because he loves the game so much and considers it a blessing to still be able to play. It is blatantly obvious that his goal is to be with an NHL club full-time. At 36, he has more than proven that he still can. His early arrivals were followed by impromptu chats, teaching sessions and mentoring with many of the current crop of young players on this team.
Gomez earned the respect of every single member of this team and staff from his first minute with them.
“The plan from the get-go was to let him play out the 25 games,” Bears President/GM Doug Yingst said. “He knows that the door is always open for him in Hershey if he wants to return.”
And yes, he can return. Playing more than eight games in the league makes him eligible to play either on another PTO or a standard AHL contract. Time will tell.