Dave Scatchard was knocked unconscious.
For 10 minutes, he was flat on his back as the paramedics and trainers worked on him. It was in that split second that Scatchard had a life-altering moment.
“I felt my soul leave my body,” Scatchard said in an interview with IslesBlog two weeks ago. “I visited heaven and had a conversation with God. I had this vision of my casket going down into the ground — it’s the only negative vision I had; heaven was incredible.
“But my two, three, and five-year-old kids were dressed in black, and as they were lowering me down, my middle three-year-old jumps onto the casket crying. And then the gravedigger threw dirt on the casket and it hit my child. It got all over his little, black suit. That was when I stopped walking with god and asked if I could go back because I didn’t want my kids to grow up without a dad.”
Scatchard’s 15-year hockey career was over at that moment. The dirty, late hit which knocked him unconscious gave him his fifth and final concussion. But another journey of his life was just beginning: his way back. At first, he thought it was going to be amazing because of his out-of-body experience, but it ended up being the total opposite.
Part of that journey is just the one of many featured in Scatchard’s new book, “The Comeback: My Journey through Heaven and Hell”. The 264-page memoir chronicles Scatchard’s life coming from a small Alberta town whose father was a coal miner, his career in hockey, all the trials and tribulations that came his post playing days, and his eventual climb back to where he is today.
For Scatchard, who is now a life and business coach, he’s been wanting to tell his story for five years. He was hesitant about the project for awhile because of the kind of reception it might receive. “I was actually a little bit nervous about how the big, tough hockey world would look at this story,” Scatchard said. “I can’t help it. I just had to write it. I thought about it every day. I can’t believe it’s finally done, I’m so excited. Wherever it takes us, it takes us.”
Scatchard is hoping this book helps millions of people — not just former players themselves — from around the world whom have dealt with the things he’s gone through or another difficult situation in their lives. Although its described as a “hockey book”, several chapters of it that go beyond the ice.
He admitted to dealing with suicidal thoughts for a long time after the brain restoration clinic told him that he was going to live out the rest of his days with permanent disabilities. How he traveled the world with famed author Tony Robbins for a few years and in that time he was introduced to all types of healers, monks, energy workers. And how he would learn everything he possibly could from them.
“That’s all in the book,” Scatchard noted. “All these crazy stories, all these crazy experiences I had, miracles I’ve seen. The whole book is a lesson on teaching. It’s just the beginning.
“I feel like truly from my coaching business standpoint, I have a personal development book or two in me. But this one is an incredible story with lessons, healing and knowledge that I’ve used to rebuild my life again. I’ve been blessed enough to make it to the best league and the best athletes in the world and my coaching business in on track to be competing with some of the best in the world. We’ve done it twice now, three times if you count the two years I went to work for the NHLPA (National Hockey League Players’ Association) and made the NHL again. So coming back and rebuilding is nothing new to me. It’s kind of like the underdog story but with wisdom of how to get over something that something that doesn’t seem possible to overcome.”
Scatchard’s writings does include accounts from his years in the NHL, especially the ones he spent on Long Island. Fittingly enough, the cover of the book shows Scatchard in an Islanders jersey.
The 45-year-old Scatchard still keeps tabs on his old squad despite living in out in Arizona. He has plenty of ties to the organization having become friendly with assistant coach Lane Lambert and head coach Barry Trotz. He also still frequents the Metropolitan area a couple of times a year — his wife being a model — and always tries to sneak in a game or check in on the team if there’s an event going on.
“Of course,” he said. “I tell all kinds of crazy stories about my Islander days. That was some of my favorite hockey I’ve ever played and favorite group of guys I’ve played with probably. “I’m really happy with the way Mr. (Jon) Ledecky has included the alumni each year for our annual trip there. That’s been really amazing for all the guys to get together and see each other. And I’m really happy with the direction of the team. It’s awesome. I thought they really had a chance to win it all this year, but it didn’t work out that way.”
Scatchard noted that he would like to possibly do a book signing before a game sometime in the near future at the Isles’ new home — UBS Arena — and that there could be more coming. A full stadium book tour? Some have even mentioned to him the book could becoming a feature-length film.
“That would really fun and would be kind of cool,” he stated.
Scatchard is doing everything he can to help others heal now, as he once needed to do to rediscover his path in life. His story is definitely a unique one and the book will reveal it all.
It’s the kind of tale that has something for everybody. Above all else, it’s kind that he feels will be life changing for all who read it.
“The Comeback: My Journey through Heaven and Hell” will be avaliable for purchase tomorrow at Barnes and Noble. It can be bought on Amazon.com, Audiobooks and Amazon Kindle. The book will also be available soon on allstarcoaching.com.