When I was growing up, Bobby Orr joined the Bruins and Boston quadrupled down on being a hockey town. Even when the Bruins were bad in the early 1960s, they filled the Boston Garden while the Celtics couldn’t get a sellout despite winning 11 championships in 13 years.
Orr was a revolution. He took over the offense of every game he was in despite playing as a defense man. This was unheard of at the time, and the accomplishments would grown outsized. In his fourth season, he scored 126 points to lead the league in scoring, nearly doubling his old mark of most points by a defense man of 64 set the year before. Many experts still consider it the greatest single season by a hockey player. I was 11 years old. Along with thousand of boys in Greater Boston, I laced on skates and for the next seven years I played some of the most enthusiastic D+ hockey the world has seen. I was that bad but I loved it that much.
I have written several short pieces about my own experience with hockey, one of which I would like to try at one of the local Moth events. I have a few ideas for longer-form pieces, in part because I love the topic but also because I think, of the four major sports, hockey seems to have disproportionately little written about it.
All that said, I hadn’t tried fiction yet until I wrote “Rink,” which was just published at The Quill Magazine. My thanks to Colleen Conerz for the thoughtful edits and for publishing the piece. It is entirely fiction. The protagonist and the other characters all know how to actually play.
The tennis courts had been flooded for a month, but it only turned cold enough for ice on Christmas. So, when Davey McCabe finished his paper route the next day, he put on his equipment and walked over. He heard the boys from the high school team before he saw them. There were six of them with sticks and pucks. Freddie Brown was out there, flying around the ice, pushing the puck just in front of him, then blasting a slap shot off the chain link fence. Davey watched Freddie collect the puck, skate in a low circle, pivot and skate in another low circle, then shoot off the fence again.
There were nine of the older boys now, and Davey recognized them all. Jimmy Martin and his twin brother Johnny. They were on defense and seemed to never let up a goal. Pete McCann was out there. He was chasing Freddy all over the ice but couldn’t get the puck off his stick. Pucks were everywhere. Guys were going full speed down the ice and letting slap shots go. Davey watched one puck get lodged in the chain link. He couldn’t imagine shooting a puck that hard.
Read the rest here.