After his short nap Rick poured himself a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee. He took a quick shower, packed his duffle bag and got into his old Ford. In less than twenty minutes he arrived at The St. Vital Arena. As soon as he got his head through the front doors Rick caught the bracing smell of ice and an indoor hockey arena. He always found the odor exhilarating and it immediately forced Rick to take on the identity of Rick Miller, the St. Vital Cougars star goalie. In an indoor hockey arena Rick could forget that he was just a kid who was taking four years to complete high school, or someone who could not hold down a factory job. Here he was famous and was a force to be reckoned with. It was somewhat like Clark Kent changing his clothes in a phone booth to emerge as Superman.
It had not always been this way. Four years ago, he had a coach in midget hockey that Rick didn’t particularly care for. His former coach Whit Chandler would always blame his team’s losses on Rick’s poor performance in goal. Whit told Rick that he let in far too many soft goals.
Whit wanted his team to capture a play-off spot and couldn’t see how this goal would be achieved with Rick’s continuing substandard performance. The coach had a Plan B. Without Rick’s knowledge Whit had asked one of the team’s defensemen if he would replace Rick in goal for the next game. The defenseman, Nick Robertson, told his coach that he was up to the challenge. Nick had played goal in a few scrub games and figured that he wouldn’t have much difficulty playing goal in an organized hockey game.
During the first period Nick made a couple of good saves. This caused him to become overconfident and he became a bit of a show off. As a result, Nick would stray way too far out of his net and this tactic caused the Cougar’s opponents to score two quick goals. A few minutes later Nick bobbled a long easy shot from center ice and the Cougars were now down three goals. Whit had seen enough. His experiment had ended in disaster. The Cougar’s own fans were now heckling Nick and were calling for the coach to put Rick in goal. Some of the fans were even throwing their garbage at Nick. Nick truly looked relieved when Whit signalled for him to leave the goal to be replaced by Rick. Rick played competently enough during the rest of the game and the Cougars managed to finish the game with a 3-3 tie.