The slap shot came in low and hard. The goalie went down, stretched out his right pad, made the save. The rebound slid out towards David Hanka. David swung at the puck, anticipating his first goal of his young hockey career and missed. The opposing team’s center checked David off the puck, picked it up and started to skate up the ice. David chopped his stick on the ice with frustration and started skating towards the bench as hard as he could which for David, who was the slowest skater on the team, a struggle of speed. As he approached the bench Assistant Coach Niemi opened the door. David turned into a hockey stop, promptly fell and slammed hard against the boards. The echo caused Susan Miller to look to see what had happened and comment with a tone of disgust to her husband, “Is that that Hanka kid falling again? My God! Maybe they should sharpen his skates already.” Three rows behind, David’s mother scowled at the back of Susan Miller’s head and wanted to comment, “We had them sharpened before the game bitch,” but held her tongue. After the game, David would comment to his mom, “I think my skates were too sharp, so I had a bit of trouble today. But next week I know I’ll do better.”
Detective Niemi looked down at the young hockey player laid out on the ice, “Come on David, get up, so we can get another player on the ice.” David scrambled to his feet, slipped, fell to his knees, and crawled to the open door where Niemi grabbed him by the shoulder pads to help him off the ice.
David planted his butt on the bench and through gasps of air said, “Sorry Coach, I thought I had that goal. I just missed it, but it was close!”
Niemi padded the kid on his helmet, “Keep up the good work David. Just play hard, do your best, and have fun.”