Scott Neleber has been part of a proud family in the Guilford ice hockey community for several years. This winter, Scott took on a coaching capacity at the high school and became a pillar of the Indians’ hockey hub who enjoyed working with the club’s up-and-coming athletes.
Scott is the father of Joey Neleber, a junior defenseman on the Guilford boys’ ice hockey squad; and Jaime Neleber, a freshman who played defense for the girls’ team. While Scott already had coaching experience in youth hockey, he was encouraged by his daughter to step onto the high school bench this year and recently completed his first season as a volunteer assistant with the Guilford girls.
“My daughter came to me and said how there were many more girls on the team this year and that they needed more coaches,” says Scott. “I always told the girls to be happy and healthy. I want to teach them the love of the game. No matter what is going on in your day, your time on the ice is your happy time for yourself. It’s something that has affected a lot of people. I also feel that your family and your health are the most important things in life.”
Scott says that it’s not about the final tally on the scoreboard when it comes to the kids getting the most out of their tenure with the team. Instead, he feels that it all boils down to them enjoying their time at the rink.
“It’s not about being on the winning or losing end of things. It’s about seeing them smile on the ice,” Scott says. “The girls on this team have had an amazing mindset. It’s all about getting involved with things in school, and the ice is a great place to be. At the end of the day, you want them to be happy with their performances.”
Scott has established himself as a popular presence at Guilford’s boys’ and girls’ hockey games during recent seasons, and he loves it when he sees the Indians’ athletes displaying good sportsmanship. Scott also tries to get them to look at the bigger picture in life.
“I go to high school games and see kids I’ve coached in youth waving to me in the middle of them playing, which is an awesome feeling. To see someone crying and then talk to them and have them all smiles is so rewarding,” he says. “To see my son be a player who picks up the puck and hands it to the ref is so great. I always tell them that health, family, and happiness are the most important things and to not worry about the drama of everyday life.”
Guilford girls’ ice hockey Head Coach Gil Schaper says that Scott always puts other people before himself and that his contributions to the program go well beyond helping the girls become better hockey players.
“Early in the season, Scott set the tone for the type of coach he is. He brought in a large banner for a friend of his that was returning from deployment in somewhere, but he asked all of the girls to write a message and sign it. He later that evening drove to the airport for a red-eye arrival and hung the banner for the friend to see when he got off the plane,” says Schaper. “He has spent countless additional hours, given up his time to help remodel the locker room, sharpen girls’ skates, scout other teams games, host [and] arrange pasta parties, and other team get-togethers that facilitate team building.”
Scott gets a big boost of energy from being so actively involved in the Guilford ice hockey family and is constantly going above and beyond the call of duty. One of the ways Scott did that this year was by spearheading an effort to reconstruct the locker room for the girls’ squad.
“I’ve tried to get parents more involved to the point of talking to each other more in the stands and know each other’s first names. You have to watch your kids grow up, so you might as well be involved with them. Just being a part of my kids’ lives helps to keep me young. I have to thank my wife Pam for allowing me to spend time coaching, as well,” says Scott. “I saw what the girls’ locker room was and I knew I had to turn it around. We have a coach’s closet and curtain now and 24 lockers on each side. I like to make things like that, which have a positive impact on everyone. The boys’ team saw it and started asking me to re-do their locker room. Knowing what they needed and to provide it and also know that it will help the future tremendously is great.”