…Finally the referee blew the whistle as a signal for the teams to line up for the face-off and the start of the game. I wasn’t on the ice, second shift for me. Goliath was on his bench as well. Puck drops, the games on. Confusion and chaos begin as everyone on both sides go for the puck at the same time. No sense of order, teamwork or synergy among the players. No one played positional hockey as there were ten puck hogs out there. Everyone wanted to score. Nobody scored. Next!
Second shift comes out, more of the same. A little better coordination perhaps as both coaches are screaming at the players from the bench. Suddenly, a shot from us. Wide, puck ricochets into their corner. A Royal defenseman picks it up and slides it over to the opposite side. Another player fires the puck off the boards and down the ice. Icing is called. Line changes, puck is back in the Royal’s end. Just then their wooly mammoth comes off the bench and takes his place on the right side of the circle. Puck drops; the Royal’s center wins the faceoff and hacks the puck back behind their net. Suddenly their man gets the puck and skates with it behind their own net and just stands there weighing in on all that surrounds him. The rest of our team begin to skate backwards in rapid succession, some of us lining up on their blue line the rest of us at centre ice. None of us would even dare to challenge this guy. He was not a normal 12 year old kid at 6 ft tall – with his skates on. Skinny, lithe, slippery as a snake, one would think that being that tall and that skinny that one could just puff in his direction and down he’d go. Unfortunately for us he was not the gangly uncoordinated klutz. Far from it.
At this moment in time I had no idea what must be going through McDink’s mind. He surely had to know what was coming his way. He did seem to back up way into his net as if he thought by doing so would offer him some form of protection. Nope. Then out he slides, centre’d in the goalie crease and crouched with blocker and stick out to this left side with his glove hand to his right and arced slightly upward. McDink did look the part.
The wooly mammoth of a player began to move, slowly at first, then accelerating. He deeked around a couple of his own team mates then turned on an oblique angle across his own goal toward his own blue line. Faster and faster he went, with every cut of his blades. He leaned his tall frame expertly to his right pulling the puck with him as he went. It was a sight to behold. Then he leaned to his left until he was on a straight trajectory to our goal and our goalie, McDink. The only thing standing in his way was about 4 of us but we were in such a state watching this unfold that we couldn’t move a muscle, not that we would even try. From the centre line where I was standing, looking back at his end with him coming at us full tilt you could see, sense, feel the thrusts of his skates as he came straight for us. Like a rocket – whoosh!. His eyes ablaze, his face contorted as if his every move generated negative “G” forces. Woosh, woosh, woosh, as he flew past his own team mates then past us one by one. It was as if they, we, were standing still. Crunch, crunch, crunch, the sound of his blades cutting into the ice; leveraging and transferring that potential energy throughout into his entire being…