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Forward Defense

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Chapter 1

Flashback…Meda age 6

“Come on, Meda! Just like I showed you!” Her dad yelled at her as she rounded the ice in her first game of the youth league season. With her tongue sticking out in concentration, she hit the puck. It flew past her opponent and made the goal. The little boy she stole it from was not very happy about that. He checked her hard, making her fall back on the ice.

“Stupid girls shouldn’t be playing hockey. Go home and play with your dolls.” He must have thought she was going to cry because that’s what girls did, right? Well, not this girl. Meda got up as he turned around.

“Hey Bently!” she yelled. When the little boy turned around again, she fired off quick as lightning and slammed him into him hard. She hit him so hard, he was coughing and crying trying to catch his breath. “I don’t play with dolls. I play hockey!” (End flashback)

The twins sat in the Sounders conference room with a sea of other players, holding hands. Meda concentrated on her breathing to relieve her anxiety and ignore the glares from some of the other players. She was so nervous! She was still overwhelmed that this day had come and as happy as she was about it, her stomach couldn’t stop churning. Apollo squeezed her hand and gave her a reassuring smile. “Relax, baby sis. We got this.” Meda returned his smile, took a deep breath and focused on the group of Sounders coaches at the head of the table. She had signed her contract weeks ago so this was just a formality for the press who were packed in like sardines, waiting to get a glimpse of the woman who was making hockey history. Her father was standing behind the coaching staff, grinning madly.

One by one the players were called and the blinding flash of a thousand cameras went off. With each choice, she held her breath waiting for her name to be called. Apollo’s name was called by the head coach of the Michigan Sounders, Richard “Bogie” Lubeck. Meda hugged him enthusiastically and watched with pride as he made his way to the front. He had also signed his contract the same day as Meda. Coach Lubeck was more than happy to snap him up, knowing the legacy House Dakiedes brought to the Sounders. Damon had made them champions. Nicknamed “The Destroyer”, he brought vitality to a dying team and pushed them to become the great franchise they currently were. Apollo was excited to play for the Sounders, hoping he could live up to his father’s name and bring his own flavor. He was ecstatic that he could share this journey with his sister.

“Andromeda Dakiedes.” Meda froze when she heard her name. She slowly rose from her seat and made her way down, Coach Lubeck smiling widely at her. “Now I know you’ve already done this, Meda so give the cameras that award winning smile of yours.” Giving her a wink, he slid the contract toward her. “Welcome to the team, Meda.” Signing with a flourish, Meda became the first female professional hockey player. And she was playing for her father’s old team along with her brother. Unable to help herself, she shook Coach’s hand and let out a resounding “Hell yeah!” Fist bumps and hugs ensued, Meda stood with Apollo while the cameras went crazy.

“Andromeda how does it feel to make history?” a faceless voice of a reporter asked out of the noise.

“There are no words to describe this feeling. It is euphoric, to say the least”.

“How do you think your fellow teammates are going to feel about you being a part of the team?”

“Hopefully they will be happy about it. A lot of these guys I’ve been watching for years. It’s an honor to play with them, really. I mean, I know it will be hard at first but I plan to earn their respect just like any rookie.”

“What can we expect to see from you in the upcoming season?”

“Some damn fine hockey,” she answered with a wide smile, garnering laughter from the slew of reporters. The questions continued for a few more minutes before Coach shut them down. The first step was over and she was an official Sounder. Now came the hard part. Winning over her teammates.

Flashback…Meda age 16

It was the final period. They were down one goal at the top, playing for the Michigan State High School Hockey Championship. It was her second year as captain and it had been a pretty grueling game to say the least. Everyone on both teams was tired and some were getting sloppy. Not on Meda’s watch. She was going to see her Wildcats take another state championship even if it killed her. She had taken her share of hits this game. Their rivals, the Quinn Lakes Beavers were vicious and were not above playing dirty to get the goal. She knew their game and had prepared her teammates for it. For every blocked shot, she was checked. For every puck stole, she was checked. She was a driving force of fury on the ice and the Beavers wanted her out of the picture. They didn’t realize who they were messing with.

The puck was dropped by the referee. Meda looked into the audience at her father who gave her a sharp nod. She turned her gaze to her twin, Apollo who gave her the same nod. She flashed a wicked grin at the brute in front of her and blew him a kiss. It was time to get rough. The whistle blew and the Wildcats took the puck, shooting down the ice like bullets. Meda skated left and right, circles around her opponents keeping one eye on the goon squad and another on her brother. With a roar of defiance, Apollo passed the puck and with a hard flick of her wrist she delivered a hook shot for the record books. The puck sailed down the ice to Ethan Grey, the Wildcats center. With another hard shot, the puck slid into goal making the buzzer go off.

No time to celebrate, the teams squared off again. Time was running out and whoever landed the next goal would be crowned champions. This time the Beavers took the puck and headed deep into their territory. The pressure was on to get the puck and take it to the Wildcats goal. The Wildcats had stepped up their defense and it was a hard won battle to get the puck back. The Beavers were hammering hard, pulling out all their dirty stops but the Wildcats powered through. The Demolition Derby was out in full force, blocking, stealing and checking at every opportunity. The twins were running amok giving their opponents hell. Just before the buzzer sounded signaling the end of the game, the lights went off in the Wildcats net. GOAL! The Wildcats had done it again!

At the end of the game, the players begrudgingly shook hands and went their separate ways. After showers and pep talks, they headed out of the arena. Meda was on cloud nine after their win. A large shadow fell over her path and she found herself blocked by the Beavers goon squad. Brady Marks, the player who had harassed her the most, extended his hand. “You kicked our ass today,” he said with a smile. “You didn’t take nobody’s shit either. Ryan back there lost a tooth on that last check you gave him.” Meda smiled and took his hand.

“Thanks Brady,” she beamed.

“You got balls, girl. Balls big enough to play with the boys and win.” He nodded his head and shoved his hands in his pockets. “I can respect that.” He winked and walked off. (End flashback)

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