|Position: Right Wing / Left Wing
Born: September 17, 1962
Birthplace: Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Height: 6'1" Weight: 190 lbs.
Drafted by the Winnepeg Jets, 2nd Round,
22nd Overall, 1981 NHL Entry Draft
Seasons with Buffalo: 1986-87 to 1989-90
Uniform Number: 9
|1986-87: Tim Horton Memorial Award (Unsung hero)
1987-88: Tim Horton Memorial Award (Unsung hero)
|Scott Arniel came to the NHL following a successful junior career as a member of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Cornwall Royals. Arniel played two full seasons as a member of the Royals, who won the Memorial Cup Championship both years.
As a rookie in 1979-80, Arniel scored 22 goals and 28 assists, second only to Dale Hawerchuk amongst Cornwall's rookie crop. In his second year with the Royals, Arniel more than doubled his offensive output of the previous year, scoring 52 goals and 71 assists to finish the season with 123 points. He was second overall on the team in goals, assists and total points, trailing Hawerchuk in all three categories. During the 1980-81 season, Arniel represented Canada at the 1981 World Junior Championship Tournament.
Both Arniel and Hawerchuk were eligible for the 1981 NHL Entry Draft. Hawerchuk was selected first overall by the Winnipeg Jets, and Arniel again followed his lead. He was selected 22nd overall, with Winnipeg's second pick in the 1981 Draft.
|While Hawerchuk immediately found a spot in the Jets' lineup, Arniel played another half-season with Cornwall, now in the Ontario Hockey League, before being called up to play in Winnipeg. He also took time during the season to rejoin Team Canada for the 1982 World Junior Championship, as Canada won the Gold Medal for the first time in the tournament's history. Arniel saw action in 17 games for the Jets during the 1981-82 season, scoring his first NHL goal and adding 8 assists.
Arniel joined the Jets full time during the 1982-83 season, developing into one of the better defensive forwards on a fairly mediocre Winnipeg team. Arniel would play four full seasons as a Jet, passing the 20-goal barrier in both 1983-84 and 1984-85. On June 21, 1986, Arniel was involved in a Draft Day trade which sent him east to become a member of the Buffalo Sabres. In return, the Sabres sent left wing Gilles Hamel out west to Winnipeg.
|Arniel got off to a slow start in Buffalo, seeing spot duty in the Sabres lineup under head coach Scotty Bowman and later Craig Ramsay. Through the team's first 38 games, Arniel appeared just 24 times, accounting for only 4 points. His first goal as a Sabre came nearly two months into the season on November 28, 1986 on the road against the Boston Bruins. In mid-December, Ramsay was replaced as head coach by Ted Sator, and Arniel was finally given a regular shift. He responded to the increase in ice time, scoring 21 points over the final 40 games of the season. Arniel proved to be a clutch goal scorer, scoring 7 go-ahead goals during the 1986-87 season. One of his goals came in overtime against the Edmonton Oilers on January 18, 1987, the Sabres' only overtime win of the season. Arniel finished the season with 11 goals and 14 assists. At the end of the season, the Buffalo Sabres Booster Club awarded Arniel with the Tim Horton Memorial Award as the team's Unsung Hero.
The 1987-88 season saw Arniel develop into one of the team's best defensive forwards. Versatile enough to play all three forward positions, he switched from left wing to right wing during the season. Arniel was Buffalo's best penalty killer during the season, and led the team with 3 short-handed goals. Offensively, Arniel saw a marked improvement over the 1986-87 season, scoring 17 goals and 23 assists. He was second-best on the team with a plus/minus rating of +8. Only rookie defenseman Calle Johansson finished
|the season ahead of Arniel in that category. For the second straight season, Arniel was awarded the Tim Horton Memorial Award. He remains the only Sabre to win the award in consecutive seasons.
Arniel was one of only two Sabres to play in all 80 games during the 1988-89 season. He remained a solid penalty-killer, and tied for the team lead with two short-handed goals. For the second straight year, the steady-but-unspectacular Arniel was second on the team in plus/minus rating, finishing the season a +10. In the 1989 Playoffs, Arniel played in all 5 of Buffalo's games and scored one goal, a short-hander, as the Sabres were eliminated in the first round by the Boston Bruins. At the time, Arniel was one of only four Sabres players to have scored short-handed goals in the Playoffs.
|If there was one word to describe Arniel during his time in Buffalo it was consistent. His numbers during the 1987-88, 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons were nearly identical. In 1989-90, Arniel played in 79 games, one fewer than he had in 1988-89. He scored 18 goals, matching his total from 1988-89, which was just one better than 1987-88. He fell off a bit in his assist totals, accounting for only 14 helpers as opposed to the 23 and 24 he notched during the previous two seasons. In the 1990 Playoffs, his numbers were identical to the 1989 post-season, in which he played in 5 games, scored one goal and had 4 penalty minutes.
While Arniel's performance with the Sabres wasn't exactly attention grabbing, the way in which he departed the team certainly was. On June 16th, 1990, Arniel was involved in another Draft Day trade, this time a blockbuster deal which sent Arniel back to the Winnipeg Jets along with Buffalo's star defenseman Phil Housley, center Jeff Parker and a first round pick in that afternoon's Draft (which the Jets used to select Keith Tkachuk). In return, the Sabres acquired Winnipeg's captain, and Arniel's former Cornwall teammate, Dale Hawerchuk and the first round pick the Sabres used to select Brad May.
|Arniel's "homecoming" in Winnipeg would be short lived, lasting just one season. Arniel's 1990-91 season was largely unproductive, scoring just 5 goals and 17 assists. Following the season, Arniel was briefly reassigned by the Jets to the New Haven Nighthawks of the American Hockey League. The demotion marked the first time in his professional career that Arniel would play in the minor leagues. His stint with New Haven ended in mid-November, 1991 when he was traded to the Boston Bruins for future considerations. Arniel spilt the remainder of the season between the Bruins and their AHL affiliate, the Maine Mariners.
A free agent following the 1991-92 season, Arniel signed with the San Diego Gulls of the International Hockey League, where he would spend the next two seasons. Coached by former Sabres player and Head Coach Rick Dudley, the 1992-93 Gulls could easily have been named "Sabres West". Arniel was one of 11 former Sabres players or draft picks to take the ice for San Diego that season. Even the Gulls' radio broadcasts had ties to Buffalo, hosted by former Sabre Joe Noris. Arniel underwent a career resurgance in San Diego, finishing second on the team in goal scoring in both of his seasons there.
Arniel played for the Houston Aeros and Utah Grizzlies before landing back in Winnipeg for the third time in his career, this time as a member of the IHL's Manitoba Moose. Arniel signed as a free agent with the Moose for their inaugural season of 1996-97, and remained with the team through the 1998-99 season. During that time, Arniel was named Captain of the club.
Following the 1998-99 season, Scott Arniel retired from playing and moved behind the Manitoba bench as an Assistant Coach. In the summer of 2001, Arniel turned down a lucrative offer to become a Head Coach in the United Hockey League, opting instead to re-sign with Manitoba as an Assistant, a position he holds to this day.