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Rick Miller Has His First Tutorial On Goaltending

Episode 14:

Whit Chandler was only able to procure a 10:30 PM ice time slot for Rick’s crash course in goaltending. Throughout his whole career Rick had never had a coach teach him how to play goal. All he got from them was criticism of his performance. On Wednesday, December 5, 1967 this suddenly changed. As promised Coach Reynolds brought along his number one goalie Brent Peterson.

Coach Reynolds told Whit Chandler to stay in the stands and just observe as he and Brent taught Rick. To start off Coach Reynolds sent Brent to the net. He asked Rick to closely observe Brent’s posture and how he always kept his goal stick flat on the ice. Next Brent demonstrated how he cut down the angles. Brent showed Rick how to stop different kinds of shots. High shots, low shots, slap-shots and wrist shots were all included in Rick’s crash course in the art and science of goaltending. Coach Reynolds put Rick in goal to practise what he’d just watched Brent do. When the one-hour session was over, Rick was completely exhausted. He was so tired that it took him a long time to take his equipment off. Brent walked up to Rick and sat right beside him on the bench in the dressing room.

“I just want to tell you that you did really well out there tonight, but we still have a lot of work to do. Coach Reynolds will book the ice time again for sometime next week. In the mean time I’m going to give you some homework.” Brent handed Rick a copy of Lloyd Percival’s Hockey Handbook. He told Rick to read and study the chapter on goaltending and to start practising some of the suggested exercises on his own.

Episode 15:

Rick attended and participated in two more private training sessions with Craig Peterson and Coach Reynolds. Rick had absorbed a lot of new strategies to help his individual play. On a Thursday night following his last practice, Rick saw his newly acquired skills start to pay off. The Cougars were playing a team from the north end of the city. The Cougar’s opponents were ranked very close to the Cougars in the league standings. Northwood’s strategy for the game was to intimidate the Cougars with a punishing physical confrontation. The Northwood Raiders did everything in their power to engage the Cougar players into fights. They hacked, slashed, tripped and tried every illegal tactic to draw the Cougars off their game. The Cougars were a relatively small hockey team that was not known for aggressive play on the ice. The Cougars really had only one player that was a scoring threat and a Raiders player managed to engage him in a fight during the first period that led to his expulsion from the game.

By the start of the second period Northwood had the Cougars on the run. The smaller team was by now totally intimidated and their one scoring threat was out of the game. The Cougars now did not believe that they could win this game. Their revised goal was to get out of this arena alive. The game officials appeared to have been bought off by the Northwood Raiders. They refused to call penalties on even the most egregious infractions. Several of the Cougars white road jerseys now displayed blood stains.

Amazingly after all this mayhem the game was still scoreless going into the third period. The reason was the outstanding play of Rick Miller in goal. Rick stopped shots from every conceivable angle including three breakaways. This heroic effort by the Cougars goalie caused Northwood to become frustrated and dispirited. It was as if Rick’s superb play had drained the fight right out of the Raiders.

The Cougars capitalized on some late game lackadaisical play by Northwood and scored two quick goals. With time running out the Raider’s coach chose to pull their goalie in order to acquire a sixth attacker. This strategy backfired when the Cougars scored an empty net insurance goal.

At the final buzzer the Cougar players left the bench and mobbed Rick. They knew who won the game for them.

Lunch at the Red Top Winter Dreams eps. 12 &13

Episode 12:

After hockey practice was over, Rick called Misty.

“Hey, are we still on for lunch today?” Rick asked.

“You bet,” Misty answered. “Where shall we go?”

“I really like the chili and fries at The Red Top.”

“And I love their burgers and onion rings. So, we finally agree on something,” Misty teased.

“Yeah, miracles still do happen, I guess,” Rick said with a chuckle. “So, we’ll leave right now. I’m getting hungry after a gruelling hockey practice. Just meet me at my car.”

“Just what I always wanted. A man who takes charge,” Misty said.

In under five minutes the two neighbors arrived at The Red Top Restaurant. They were greeted by one of the weekend staff.

“What can I get for you guys? Do you want a menu?”

The waitress’s name was Marlene. She also attended Maplewood Collegiate. She was in Misty’s chemistry class. Many of the students at Maplewood held part time jobs in the evenings or on the weekend. Rick had passed Marlene in the halls several times. Rick found Marlene to be attractive, but he wouldn’t put her in the same league with Misty.

“Hi, Marlene. I’ll have chili, fries and a hot chocolate. And what will you order Misty?”

“I’ll have a Red Top burger, some onion rings and a Coke.”

“I’ll get your hot chocolate and Coke right away.” Marlene said.

“So does Sasha know that we’re having lunch together?” Rick asked.

“Oh yeah. I told her this morning at breakfast. She’s cool with it. She just started seeing this guy called Cole. He’s not as good looking as you Rick, but he’s very intelligent like you are. I think Cole might be a socialist or even a communist. He looks like one too. He is tall, skinny and has a black goatee and if I remember correctly, he wore a badge on his sweater that said Young Socialist Party of Canada. Cole brought over some books for Sasha to read. One was Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book and another one was The Communist Manifesto.  Sasha hasn’t shown much interest in politics before, but I think she’ll read his literature just because she likes Cole so much.”

“Well, I’m happy for her. I hope Sasha’s found herself a nice guy. And I’m relieved to hear that she’s not upset about us having lunch together,” Rick said.

“No, there’s no need to worry Rick. Sasha’s over you.”

Episode 13:

“So, Rick. How was your practice this morning?”

“It went very well. I am actually enjoying playing hockey for probably the first time in my life,” Rick answered.

“How long have you been playing hockey?”

Before Rick could answer Marlene had brought over Rick’s hot chocolate and Misty’s Coke. The sun shone brightly through the window highlighting the beauty of Misty’s face. Misty appeared so ravishing to Rick that he found it hard to focus on his answer to her question.

“Since I was seven years old,” Rick managed to get out.

“And you haven’t liked playing hockey until now?” Misty asked looking baffled.

“It’s what you call the power of peer pressure. My teammates wouldn’t let me quit. I was the only kid who wasn’t afraid of getting hit by the puck, so I was the only goalie they had,” Rick explained.

“So what’s changed it for you this year?”

“There are several reasons. For one thing we have a different coach this year. Our former coach developed heart trouble and his doctor ordered him to quit coaching hockey. So now we have a new coach, Brad Keenan. He goes to university and he’s a really cool guy. He’s taken most of the pressure right off me. Plus, I’m the oldest guy on the team this year and the younger guys look up to me.”

“Wow, I never would have dreamed I’d be having lunch with a jock,” Mindy said.

This made Rick laugh. “Yes, but a very enlightened jock.”

“I always wanted a guy with a good sense of humour,” Misty said, starting to laugh.

Eps. 10 Winter Dreams a Disastrously Bad Experiment

Episode 10:

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.

Winter Dreams Episode 49

Winter Dreams Episode 49

Miles Myers was grateful for the motivational talk that Rick Miller had given him, but he still felt very nervous as he left the dressing room and walked slowly to the ice surface of the St. Vital Arena.  The two rookie forwards, Steve Hayes and Rod Langlois followed right behind him.

Miles informed Steve and Rod that he wanted to skate two laps around the rink before taking his place in the net to start taking warm-up shots.

Several fans of the Norberry Knights had already found seats in the arena.  As Norberry was the visiting team, their supporters took the bleachers on the west end of the arena.  The Maplewood Cougars were attired in their home team jerseys, a beautiful blend of gold with white trim.  The Norberry Knights wore their visitor’s uniforms that were white with silver trim.

As soon as Miles, Steve and Rod took to the ice they could feel the hatred that the Norberry Knights fans felt toward them.

One of Norberry’s fans yelled out,” Hey Myers, you sieve, what makes you think you can play goal like Rick Miller?”  Another Knights fan, a tall thin man in his early forties, put his hands together and bellowed, “You guys should concede the game right now before you embarrass yourselves.”

The Maplewood Cougars fans started to enter on the east side bleachers.  There was a sense of uneasiness among the Cougars supporters.  The fans knew that not having Rick Miller in goal tonight could be a huge factor affecting the outcome of this evening’s game.  There were also concerned about the loss of team captain, Eric Coswell as he was serving a suspension.  Eric was highly valued for his team leadership as well as for his outstanding skills as a defenceman.

The extra security staff arrived approximately one hour before game time.  Two security personnel were already checking the fans entering the arena for concealed weapons, contraband or alcohol.  One three hundred pound security guard had already stopped one fan who had a switchblade knife in his jacket pocket.  Two other security personnel caught a teenager with a flask of whiskey in the pocket of his parka.  The young man had wrapped the silver flask in a brown paper lunch bag. This was not too smart as anyone who sees somebody drinking out of a brown paper bag knows that it’s not Coca- Cola in their container.  The young man hung his head in embarrassment.  One of the older security guards who was likely well to his sixties turned towards the young female security guard and said, “I don’t know about you, but I’ll be glad when our shifts are over tonight.  I think a lot of these people are expecting to have an all out brawl like the one they had last game.”

 

“Don’t worry,” said a thirty year-old police constable with a slight tinge of grey in his black hair.  The police officer was standing by a white wall and was also keeping a close eye on the crowd.  “The first person that gets out of line and I pull out the handcuffs.  My partner and I are ready to use physical force if necessary, to keep this crowd under control.  If it gets really bad.  we can always radio in for backup.”  His partner, a fit young officer with red hair, nodded in agreement.

 

 

 

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