falling through the ice: nat, come back here!

pass that puck

Following a few series of “starts and stops,” Mr. Hopkins tossed outa dozen pucks that Whitey had handed him. This was the sign that formal practice had ended. The bay now became a madhouse of “shinny.”

After allowing a few minutes of this unrestrained fun, Mr. Hopkins called all but the seniors off the ice. Whitey Sherman limped out to the row of beams. He had to bring in the red flags that marked the boundaries. He watched Ted Dunsworth and Nat Collier skating down the ice passing the puck back and forth in mid-season form.

Just before reaching the boundaries, Ted stopped and fed a hard pass toward the beams, while Nat swung wide to pick it up. The puck, passed too hard, lifted slightly off the ice, hit the top of the beams, and skidded into the out-of-bounds area.

Without a bit of hesitation, Nat jumped lightly over the beams and skated in pursuit.

Aware of the closeness of treacherous ice, Whitey, who was nearest to him, shouted, “Nat come back here!”

The puck was sliding fast now. Nat reached it in a second, curled his stick around it, stopped suddenly and swept the puck back toward the beams. At the same time, Whitey and the others that were watching, saw the ice area around Nat suddenly sag and give way. With arms outstretched, hockey stick in the air, Nat Collier settled into the water.

• Pass That Puck! (1948), Richard T. Flood