NEHL - Jack

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The mandatory news conference was a free for all. We defeated Boston Eight to one and Eric scored a hat trick. It took twenty minutes to clear the ice.

Mr. Green apologized for the time it took with the pregame festivities and we all knew Boston would complain later, but as far as I was concerned they were a bunch of whiners anyway.

I had four assists and it was a good night. It felt good being back on the ice. The moment of the game came in the middle of the first period when we scored our first goal, and it was Eric, when he skated over to the crowd and pointed to a certain section and they all held up parts of a sign.

When it was all put together it spelled out “Haley Mills, this goal is for you.” It was the classiest thing I had ever seen, and yes, this big bad skater balled as he was leaving the ice after the score.

Of course we did get to see the sign seven more times, since, no matter, who scored, they all pointed to the same section to bring out the sign. It was the most exciting thing I had ever been part of. I was proud of my team, shit, I was proud to be part of their team.

Coach answered questions about the game and Mr. Green answered questions about the contract, deferring till it was accepted in Toronto, but he let it slip that he had it preapproved so there would be no problems. Sneaky bastard had been thinking about this for a while.

Then it was Eric’s turn and he praised me and his teammates and was just happy to have us all back together again, and one big happy family. Damn kid even sniffed a little and probably made every girl in North America wish she was there to comfort him. I would have to watch him.

Then it was my turn to take the podium. I wasn’t scared, heck I had been playing with reporters since this whole thing started, but nothing prepared me for what happened next.

Before my first question the reporters all parted like the red sea and one person came walking forward. It was Miss Alvord, and she was wearing a “we are Buffalo” shirt. She had her microphone in her hand and she took her place in the front of the crowd.

“May I ask a question?” She asked and I waited a second and then I decided, why not, we all needed a second chance, hell I needed a few before I figured it out. I nodded to her.

“I think it’s safe to say Jack, everyone in Buffalo only has one question for you,” she said and m mind was whirling. Was it my contract, hell I didn’t know, I never read it?

Was it Maddie, the love of my life? Was it not scoring tonight? You never knew what was going to come out of Miss Alvord’s mouth in the form of a question. So if there was only one question that all of Buffalo wanted to know, “What is it?”

“How is Haley Mills doing, and when will she be able to return to the stadium?”

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