Hockey Road

The rink lay open to the falling snow;
the temperature felt like twenty below.
We panted and puffed and squinted our eyes
determined to break a 1-1 tie.

Late in the third, my feet were numb,
a price to pay for hockey fun.
I could hardly feel the stick in my hands;
I could barely see the ghostly fans.

The puck jumped loose from the tangled play
and I skated clear on a breakaway.
Without any time to worry or think,
I headed south on the whitening rink.

Straight ahead, the goalie stood;
he didn’t move like I thought he would.
His net seemed big as an ogre’s cave
or a tombstone built for a giant’s grave.

I cradled the puck to my forehand side,
pulled it back and let it fly.
I watched it sail to the frosty twine
and knew at once the prize was mine.

My very first goal in my very first game,
a fleeting moment of on-ice fame.
It sparked a passion that took firm hold
for a life-long journey down hockey road.

               Keith Worthington                from After the Flood: Hockey Poems