At 23-years-old, Arnold is a cancer survivor.
The Montreal, QC native was diagnosed with testicular cancer last August before he was to begin his sophomore season at Niagara University.
According to the American Cancer Society, testicular cancer affects roughly 7,500 to 8,000 males every year in the United States and is the most common form of cancer in males between the ages of 20-39 years; however, testicular cancer has one of the highest cure rates of all cancers; above 90 percent in most cases.
Arnold first realized that something was not right with his body when he returned home after attending NHL development camp with both the New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames. A trip to the doctors revealed the diagnoses and less than a week later he was in surgery. It was the latter two weeks after the surgery that proved agonizing.
“I dealt with some great doctors in Montreal,” he said. “After surgery I had a two-week waiting period where they had to analyze the tumor to determine whether it had spread through my body. That was a really stressful two weeks for me. I was waiting by the phone, school had started and all my friends were there. My teammates were starting to work out and I was just sitting at home doing everything that I could do to stay positive.”
The surgery was successful and test results came back in Arnold’s favor. The tumor didn’t spread to other parts of his body so it was now time for him to turn his attention back to playing hockey. Arnold’s first goal was to make sure he was in the lineup for Niagara’s opening night game against Michigan.
“The doctor gave me a four-to-eight week recovery period,” said Arnold. “At four weeks I was jumping on the ice and by the fifth week I was playing my first exhibition game. Playing Michigan was something that I had set my mind to. Once I knew the test results I called my coach to tell him that I would be ready. It was huge moment for me.”
Not only did Arnold receive a clean bill of health, but he gained a newfound perspective on life.
“You have to appreciate everything that you get in life,” he said. “You don’t take anything for granted because you never know what might hit you in life. You have to make sure that you stay positive, regardless of whatever comes your way. You deal with each battle as they come along and keep a positive outlook.”
It’s that perseverance that caught the attention of Pirates’ head coach Ray Edwards in training camp.
“Anytime you go through something like that, it tests you mentally, physically and emotionally,” he said. “Scott is one of those guys that fits into that good, hard working, fighting though adversity type of people.”
Arnold played four years for the Brockville Braves of the Central Canadian Hockey League under former NHL’er Todd Gill, making an appearance in the RBC Cup, the national Jr A tournament in Canada, in 2010. Brockville would make it to the semifinals before losing to the eventual champions, Vernon Vipers.
“I’ve got to credit a lot of my development to Todd Gill and the Brockville organization,” said about his time with the Braves organization. “That (RBC Cup) was a great experience and helped me develop a lot as a player.”
Going to school was a priority even though there were major junior teams interested in Arnold. As a late recruit to Niagara University, Arnold made an impact in his first season, scoring 22 points in 34 games.
“I wanted to go to college,” said Arnold. “I wanted to get an education and that was something that I set my mind too.”
After overcoming his battle with cancer, and finishing his sophomore season with the Purple Eagles, Arnold signed with the Phoenix Coyotes, the Pirates NHL parent club, as a college free agent shortly after the season was complete. Several NHL teams were interested in his services, but he felt like Phoenix was the team that could get him to his dream of playing in the National Hockey League.
“It was something that I always dreamed about, to be able to play hockey in the National Hockey League, and when that opportunity came along I just had to say yes. It was really a dream come true,” said Arnold. “I really like the direction (the Coyotes) were going. I felt they were looking for that type of player that I am and I just felt like (Phoenix) was going to be a good fit for me.”