“Crabb, my office, after you change.”
“Sure Coach,” I say knowing what’s coming. It’s what’s always coming anymore, I’m being traded, or hell, maybe I’ll just be cut.
Jack Crabb, high school all-star and the future of United States Hockey, yeah right. Jack Crabb, perennial loser and journeyman. I’ve been traded five times in the last three years, all while playing in the NEHL, the minor league of the hockey world.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I was an all American in high school and drafted by the Los Angeles Coast in the third round. It wasn’t as high as I thought I would go, but it wasn’t bad, and I decided to take the scholarship offer to college and keep improving.
Of course that’s where things went wrong in a hurry. I got a full ride to Syracuse State, and was poised to take the reins of a team that was floundering. The problem was none of the other players wanted some hot shot that was drafted by a big league team on their squad. Instead of being grateful they were getting a talent, they ostracized me from day one.
Of course I might not have tried as hard as I could have to be included. I felt like they didn’t want me so I didn’t need them. I was high scorer for the team my entire four years, and we never made the college playoffs during my entire span, so team player I wasn’t.
I knew everything was going to change when I got to the bigs, I just knew it. Of course right before reporting to the team for assignment I was told my rights were traded to Florida. Florida didn’t even bring me to the bigs, they assigned me to their NEHL squad.
I got to Portland ready to show off what I could do, and shit hit the fan. No one wanted a college grad on the team, or so they acted. I hadn’t paid my dues, was another remark I heard often. It was college all over for me again. I began wondering if I even wanted this career.
Now hear I sit in one more coach’s office ready to take the ass chewing I know that’s coming. I quit caring a long time ago, but man I loved hockey, it had been so good to me, I hated giving it up.
“Jack, I’m going to cut right to the chase.” He said and that’s what I did like about Coach Sorensen, no bullshit. “You have the skills and when we watch you in practice we think you are a top league player, then you hit the ice in a game and it all goes to shit. You don’t work with the other players and they don’t work with you. It isn’t working son and I’m sorry.”
Pretty good speech, and well now I would find out if my hockey career was over or if another team would take a chance on me.
“The general manager had traded you,” he says and I feel like I get to keep playing a little bit longer. “You are on your way back to Syracuse kid.”
Oh fuck. I was headed to the storm, the worst team in the NEHL. They were the minor league affiliates of the Buffalo Blizzard, and neither the main team nor its minor clubs had a lot of hope. Well I was still playing so I guess that was a plus.
“Jack, can I give you some advice?” Coach asked and I couldn’t wait to hear these words of wisdom that were going to make me a bona fide star. I thought feeling surly inside.
“Yeah Coach,” I whispered out.
“You need to find what you are missing. You need to figure out what you used to love about playing hockey before it got crushed. Jack, I know for a fact this is your last chance. No other team wanted you. Listen to me son, find that missing piece, and find it quick, or you are all done.”
That was my pep talk I got before walking out of the arena for the last time. I would miss Coach Sorensen, he was actually probably the best Coach I ever had, but I knew what was going on. The Sound didn’t need or want me, and the coach couldn’t protect me anymore. Shit I had the skills; I just didn’t have the desire anymore.
Here he comes, Jack Crabb, holy shit he’s hot. Settle down Maddie I scolded myself. A lot of the hockey players were fit and in shape, but damn, he was hot. Down girl, I scolded again. If I blew this assignment Mr. Green would never take a recommendation from me again.
I graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in sports management, and to put it mildly, I was an assistant for the Storm. I got all the assignments no one else wanted and all the players no one else wanted.
Jack Crabb, journeyman minor leaguer was assigned to me after I commented that he was what we needed, a bonafide scorer, and I was supposed to get him acclimated to the team. Of course by team, I was supposed to show him around and tell him how glad we were that he was here, when the truth was we only signed him to work alongside our first round pick, who everyone thought we reached for, Eric Maddison, my brother.
Yeah, it was a win for the team. My brother was only seventeen, and this was an easy way to keep our parents away if I was watching him. So not only do I have my brother to watch; now I am assigned this gorgeous hunk coming my way.
Well it could be worse, not sure how, but it could be, Jack could have been, like, married or something. I laughed at myself for even thinking thoughts about marriage. Oh shit he was almost here. Steady now, you got this.
“Jack Crabb, I’m Maddie Maddison, your rep for the team.” I said holding out my hand.
“Maddie Maddison huh,” he said taking my hand in his and shaking it like a man who respects women should.
“My fathers’ cruel joke,” I said flushing. “I’ll be your contact person with the team office and if you need or want anything let me know. Today I will show you the stadium and get all your paperwork in progress.”
“Sounds good,” he said and his blue eyes dance before me. Then he said something that caught me off guard, “Could have been worse, your last name could have been Crabb. Can you imagine the teasing if you were mad about crabs?”
I snorted, and then I got my shit together. I felt like swooning to know that he tried to make me feel a bit better, but I know I have to be professional, so instead I lead the way into the stadium. I see him looking at me out of the corner of his eye like he has a question so I stop and look at him.
“Ok, what is it?” I ask smiling. “I can tell you have a question.”
“Shit, was I that obvious? Well, since you asked, you are the youngest rep I have ever met. Are you like an intern or something? I mean I’m not judging, I’m the last one that would ever judge, I’m just curious?”
Oh that was cute; I think he rambled worse than I do. I wonder why, I mean hockey players are known to be confident. So I decide to tell him the truth “I have my degree in sports management from Syracuse University but my real claim to fame is I’m the sister of Eric Maddison, early first round pick of the Blizzard, and total work in progress. I have been with the team for three years, but I’m not naive enough to think I am anymore valuable than my brother is. Even though I was here first, I still have this feeling that when they hired me, they thought it would help get Eric down the road.”
“Well shit, that’s a new one. Have they been watching the kid since grade school?” He said smiling. “What is he like sixteen?”
“Seventeen, but he will be turning eighteen in a couple of weeks. Still my parents weren’t thrilled about him going to a professional team and were pushing him to college, but when the team reminded them that I was already part of the organization and could keep an eye on him, they relented.”
“No I get it, it’s just different. I’m thinking you probably don’t get the respect you deserve because everyone just looks at you like you only got the job because of your brother. I know something about that kind of stuff, but hey maybe this is a fresh start for both of us.” He said flashing me an incredible smile.
Well shit, he was good, must be he was a professional panty dropper too. I’d have to watch myself with this one. “This is the locker-room, and your stall has already been set up.” I said leading the way into a men’s locker room like it was no big thing. I was really hoping no one was naked when I walked in but this was what I was told to do, so this is what I was doing.
“Hey Maddie,” Eric said from the bench where he was finishing putting his skates on.
Oh shit, my brother of all people was in here. This was not how I wanted to start my first day with my new player as his rep. “Eric Maddison, this is Jack Crabb, Jack this is Eric.”
“Hey kid,” Jack said looking at him funny.
“Hi Jack, welcome to the team. I heard they were bringing in someone a little older than me who could help teach me. It’s really nice to meet you. I am working real hard so just let me know what I can do.”
I kept the smile off my face but this kid was unreal. He was nothing like his hot sister that was for sure. I think I liked the kid right away, of course his sister was fucking fantastic and I still worried that I had said something to rub her the wrong way. That was the last thing I wanted to do, she was just to perfect with her dirty blond hair and her dimple in her left cheek.
Fuck I was a goner, but her kid brother was at least honest as he rambled on, and I liked that about him. “No worries kid, I doubt they will let me hit the ice today anyway. When we have our first practice together I’ll take a look.”
Just then two other players came in and they were laughing. They stopped when they saw us but then one of them got a sneer on his face and I knew I was about to get my first ribbing from a teammate, it never failed.
“Hurry up first rounder; I need someone to throw into the boards.” He said with a laugh from his buddy.
Dumb ass, I was a third rounder but before I could respond the kid did. “I’m hurrying, I had to change skates, I was having trouble with a blade, coach knew about it.”
“Coach is a dumbass, but I don’t care, any practice I get to beat up on the fresh meat is a good practice. Kiss your sister goodbye, or maybe I should.” He said taking a step toward Maddie.
I was between him and her in an instant. He was on skates and I wasn’t but we still saw eye to eye, so I knew immediately how this fight would go. I would be kicked off the team before I even started but I didn’t care at this point.
He looked at me with his sneer but I looked back at him bored. I was used to shit like this and it wouldn’t bother me to get in a scrap. Besides, I liked the kid. He was honest, a little dorky but honest, so I immediately liked him and he didn’t need this shit.
“Who the fuck do you think you are?” sneer boy asked me.
I knew how to fuck with people’s heads so I just decided to get to it. “Ask your mom, she knows me real well.”
“Mother fucker,” he said coming at me but his pal pulled him back. “If I get a hold of you, you are dead, do you hear me.”
“You’ll get your chance; I’m your new teammate genius. I can’t wait to see you on the ice.” I said laughing in his face.
They both paled and then they looked at the kid with venom. They were going to take it out on him. Shit I didn’t think about that. I knew guys like these two. Shit, shit, shit, I had to be out there.
They whispered as they walked out and I turned to look at Maddie. “You said paperwork? What do I need to sign to be on the ice?”
“It’s in the office. I’ll take you there now if you want?” She said looking confused.
“Maddie listen close because I just fucked up. Ren and Stimpy there are going to take out my stopping them on your brother. I have seen shit like this for too long. I need to hit the ice now. I’m changing now. Get the paperwork and bring it back here so I can sign it.”
“Coach said you didn’t have to start till tomorrow?” She said confused.
“Maddie, you are great, but I know guys like them. Get the paperwork and bring it back here. I need to change. Kid, fuck with your skate till I’m done and we will go out to the ice together. I’ll take the blame. Now everyone move because I’m getting naked right now.” I said taking my shirt off.
Maddie ran from the locker room like it was on fire and I smiled to myself. Damn she was hot, fire hot, I hadn’t been turned on by a woman in a while, but she was sure doing it for me.
“Thanks Jack,” Eric said. “They always say stuff to me and try to hit me when they get the chance. I hate those two.”
Oh shit don’t cry kid. “No worries kid. I’ve dealt with guys like that before. We’ll get through this.” Then I was ripping clothes off and getting dressed ready for the ice.