Roy MacGregor’s hero, Felix Batterinski, plays his junior hockey for his hometown team, Pomerania. As they prepare to meet their rivals from Parry Sound, their coach warns the players about “a very small player out there,” peewee age. They laugh. Coach Sugar:
Laugh once and get it out of your system. His name is Orr and I’ve seen him and he’s already a better player at twelve than any of you are at fifteen. Understand that? Don’t let his size fool you and watch him. Defense, I want you to stick to him like snot to an over door, understand?
Batterinski sees him on the ice. “It was the kid! They’d started him for Christ’s sake, and on defense too. He looked like a mascot out there …”
A minute left in the second period and I was the last man back with the blond kid breaking over center, intercepting a bad Bucky pass over to Powers. He looked like an optical illusion coming in on me, too small, too compact, rushing in a near sitting position, but still accelerating too fast for me to simply ride off into the corner. I forced him slightly to my left, then stepped right, where he came, and stopped and thrust out my hip with a little bit of knee I hoped the referee wouldn’t catch. I had him clean. But then I didn’t. All I felt was the wind from his sweater on my face as he somehow stepped yet another was and was gone. I turned and lunged, sweeping his feet out from under him, but even that was too late. The red light cam on even as he flew through the air past Terry, and before he landed I could see him smile and raise his hands in victory, as if he’d somehow had control even as he sailed through the air.