Matthew Jones sat on the cold, wooden bench of Twinecrest University's Locker Room. The young, optimistic 18-year-old was excited to be at college. Of course, it was just another glorified version of school- tests, extra work, bossy professors. It was all the same. There was one thing he was excited about: Hockey
The cold air that filled the rink made his blood burn with excitement. Matthew was like that one kid in your neighborhood who was always playing outside. Of course, he was playing hockey- or at least he attempted to on the harsh, hot asphalt. He'd come inside his home to his mother with scrapes on his knees from practicing a bit too fast with his puck and stick. However, his smile never faded, and in the small town of Minnesota, there was a big dream brewing that belonged to a little boy. Since age 9, everything Mathew did was solely rooted--or at least influenced--by Hockey! His front tooth was even knocked out after playing along with his neighborhood friends.
Matthew's mother was kind and was quite astonished to see her son obsessed with something so small in her mind.
Hockey? You mean the game where they figure skate and pass around that little black piece of whatever? No! The game was bigger than that.
For his 12th birthday, Matthew asked solely for Hockey gear to join a junior hockey club. His mother put in some extra shifts but the love for her son made her time worth all the while. She wouldn't stop commenting on how adorable her son looked in his uniform while Matthew kept claiming he looked like a marshmallow with all the extra padding he needed. Though, he felt nothing but determined. Sure, he was a duster on the ice at first. He slipped and fell, which embarrassed him more than anything, but he always got back up. He never stopped practicing.
His heart was lit ablaze for the sport, pushing him to work harder than ever. Because of his hard work, Matthew found himself here: On the cold, wooden bench of Twincrest University's Locker Room, playing for the Bruins. His dream was finally coming true. Matthew was so close to playing Hockey for his College- and soon, with enough hard work, he'd be able to play professionally for the NHL.
Logan Prescott felt like he was one step closer to achieving his childhood dream. He’d done the hard work and gotten accepted into Twinecrest University, the best hockey college in Minnesota. Now all he had to do was show that he deserved to be on the Division One hockey team. He’d get the opportunity to prove himself today during the ice hockey team tryouts.
Sure, Logan was there to “further his education” and all that bullshit, but what he was really here for was one thing: hockey! But he still had a ways to go before he could even consider himself a college athlete. He first had to make the team through tryouts. That’s exactly what he was determined to do.
The 18 year old new college freshman made his way down to the school’s rink where tryouts were being held, his hockey bag slung over his shoulder and his Bauer hockey stick in hand. Before Logan stepped foot in the locker room, he thought back to how far he had come to get to this point.
He remembered sitting on the couch as a young 3 year old, watching the fast paced game of hockey with his dad, in awe with the skating players on the ice. When he was 4 he learned what it meant to truly be a hockey fan. He’d even started rooting for his hometown team, the Minnesota Wild with his dad. When he was 5, Logan asked to play the game of hockey for the first time. His mother and father bought him a pair of skates, a stick, and some padding along with a personal skating coach to give him lessons and teach him how to play.
When he was 6 years old, Logan joined his very first pee wee league hockey team. He’d been playing hockey ever since. In middle school he joined the school’s hockey team. Then he moved onto playing more intense hockey at the high school level. His next hope was always to take it to the next level- the collegiate level. Now, he had a chance to make that dream a reality. He always had dreams of making it to the NHL one day but that would have to wait.
Logan took a deep breath and entered the Twinecrest University hockey team’s locker room. The boy took a look around, seeing that not too many people were here. There was one boy sitting on the wooden bench so Logan assumed this was the right place. Was it appropriate to talk to his competition? He decided he’d sit down somewhat near the kid but keep silent.
Logan set down his hockey bag and unzipped it, taking out his skates and getting them on. He couldn’t wait until he got to put on the official red and black uniform of the Twinecrest Bruins once he made the team. The dark haired boy slipped on his skates and began to tie them tight. Oh how many times had Logan tied a skate in his life? It was so many now, hockey had been apart of his life for pretty much its entirety.
Matthew was already almost dressed. He had his warmup clothes on which were fastly pressed against his body by his hockey pants, shin pads, and all other protective gear. He had just finished adjusting the pure white laces on his skates before he sat straight up. The boy exhaled softly as he scratched at his arm, a bit above where his elbow pad was. His neck guard was snuggly pressed against his throat as it awaited to be met with the finishing touches- his gloves and helmet.
The man's eyelashes fluttered softly as he exhaled, attempting to release the stress and nervousness that was bound inside of him. What did he have to lose? Hockey was in his blood. He ran his cold fingers through his brown hair as he attempted to collect his thoughts.
His attempt at concentrating before his big tryouts failed. Matthew's attention was drawn in by the fellow who just sat next to him. He looked somewhat intimidating and had the same determined, fixated look on his face as Matthew presumably did. It seemed that everyone in the cold locker room was focused on making the team. The competition seemed to be tough and resilient to impress the coach.
"Nice skates," Matthew muttered, in a chill tone.
His eyes glanced down at the man's skates. The brand was familiar and widely known for its phenomenal quality and durability. Matthew looked down at his own skates. His laces were so white and clean, they were almost glowing in the poorly lit locker room. He had a plain old pair of Bauer Vapor Volt Skates that he worked his butt off for. Matt still remembered all the hours he had to put in at work just to save up for a pair of measly skates.
It didn't matter that he didn't have the best quality skates or gear. His love for Hockey and his persistence to be successful was what was going to make him get on the team.
As Logan was tying his skates up and putting them up, he noticed that the boy sitting next to him had spoken to him. By now, Logan was all dressed in his warm up pants and shin pads and was working on his skates right now. Logan had the newest and cleanest Bauer Vapor HyperLite skates he had gotten as a gift from his parents for going away to college.
“Uhh, th- thanks,” said Logan softly, a little caught off guard by the compliment. He figured at least someone took note of his fancy new skates. He then took a look at Matthew’s older and more worn down skates. They were the farthest thing from new. “Umm, you’ve got nice skates too- seems like you play a lot,” he said as he looked up at Matthew.
Matthew appreciated the polite, yet untruthful compliment that he received. He wasn't ashamed to admit he didn't have the best and most expensive skates.
He slipped and tugged on his black gloves-- which never seemed to keep his hands warm but they allowed him to have a good grip on his stick. At one of his first-ever practices, he was told he had 'brick hands'. In other words, he has terrible stick skills. Sure, he had practiced- but never on ice! Ice was totally different. You moved fast and slick against the unforgiving icerink floor. If you didn't have the puck in your play, you weren't winning. That's what 12-year-old Matthew believed. He had an ego that was worse than his stick handling. Though, he worked on it-- and after a few months of hot tears running down his face-- he learned quickly to be a team player.
But this wasn't a team. These were tryouts. There was no time for chitchat. Everyone in the room was an opponent unless said otherwise.
"Yeah, I do play a lot," he stated.
Matthew softly smiled, as he looked down at his gloves, chuckling softly to himself.
"It'd be bad if anyone here didn't play a lot," he said.
The man stood up and slung his bag over his shoulder as he picked up his helmet from its cool, metal bars.
"Though, I'm sure we'll see real soon who hasn't practiced."
Matthew glanced over his shoulder to the other as he shifted his body to face Logan.
"But hey, light the lamp and put one in the net," he said, politely as he tried to wish his 'opponent' good luck in Hockey Slang.
“Oh uhh, right, good point,” said Logan, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly. He felt a little embarrassed with his lame “you must play a lot” comment. Of course he fucking played a lot! He wouldn’t be DI college ice hockey caliber if he didn’t!
Logan had to wonder if the comment about seeing who practiced or not was a passive aggressive threat. He figured since this was tryouts he wasn’t exactly here to make friends.
“Yea…” muttered Logan, “We’ll see…” he said quietly as he finally finished tying his skates. He then put on his elbow pads and a practice jersey over his head and grabbed his yellow and blue gloves still dawning his old high school’s colors. He then grabbed his helmet by the cage and ran a hand through his soft hair before putting it on.
Matthew walked out of the locker room into the frigid arena that encompassed the icerink. His breath formed clouds of vapor with each exhale he made. He was mindful not to unsheath his blades on the rubber floor. His skates looked beat to hell on the outside, but the runners themselves were sharp as ever.
Chatter filled the scene as the potential College Hockey players discussed various things. It was human nature to group and form cliches-- and even in the world of Hockey, it seemed that everyone was your opponent unless said otherwise.
It didn't bother Matthew. Sure, he was a chatterbug himself and enjoyed conversation more than some, but he was preparing himself for an intense hour of tryouts. The coach wasn't there yet, or so it seemed to be that way, but the tension was already rising in the air. He knew he couldn't just lose his dream because of his lack of resilience.
Matthew slipped on his helmet before swiping back his hair. He was all set to go.
It wasn't long before a coach-- or at least someone who looked to be authoritative --came out of a small door leading to the front desk part of the facility.
Matthew's focus heightened as he focused on the task at hand: He needed to blow his 'competition' away with some nasty puck-passing and stick-handling.
This for sure was going to be a hell of an hour-- which made Matt more giddy than ever, but he tried to compose himself to stay cool on the ice.
Logan shook his head, letting his hair flow freely back as he put on his bucket. He then strapped the cage in securely and slid on his gloves. He was now ready to take the ice. Logan couldn’t wait to get back out on the ice again. It wasn’t that it had been a while it was just that Logan loved the game of hockey. At the rink was where he felt at home.
It was go time. He’d have to shove aside the possibly ambiguous comments made by the boy with the beat up skates and focus on himself. At the end of the day, no one was his friend here until he made the team. He was competing against them all.
Logan wasn’t much for small talk chatter so he remained silent as the other freshman prospective players chatted amongst themselves. Soon enough, the coach came into the locker room, a clip board in hand. Logan immediately stood up, ready to do whatever this man said. He was willing to do anything to get into this team.
“Alright boys, listen up,” began the coach. “I assume you’re all here for ice hockey tryouts, yes?” he asked, as if this question was necessary. He looked around at the boys, some of them nodding their heads to confirm. “Good.” the coach said.
“Now, I must advise you- there WILL be cuts made today. Not every one of you is going to make this team. I don’t have room for a lot of new rookies so I’m probably taking only four or five of you,” the coach explained. “So skate your heart out and show me what you’ve got, eh?” said the coach.
Wow, that wasn’t a lot of rookie freshmen the coach was willing to add to the team’s final roster. It meant that he had to work even harder to prove himself and rise above the others. But Logan was competitive- he was born to win. He wasn’t going to let anything come between him and his ultimate goal of cracking the final roster of the ice hockey team.
“Get out onto the ice and I’ll meet you out there for the first drill,” the coach instructed. “Let’s go!” said the coach. Instantly, all of the boys began to walk out of the locker room and down the tunnel to the ice rink. Logan could feel his heart pounding in his chest.
Matthew walked in unison with the group of college boys. He instantly began counting the heads in his vicinity. Only Five would make the cut? His odds of being chosen were sinking. It was troubling, but he knew he had talent unlike anyone else- and with his talent, he had a story of success waiting to be written.
This hour at practice would be one hell of a time. He was curious above all. What were they going to be tested on? His reaction time was as sharp as ever when it came to 2-on-1 Rush Practices. Matt had great talent when it came to puck handling. Plus, he wasn't a duster anymore since his middle-school years.
Either way, he was up for the Challenge. Matthew was excited to try out for the team- but he was more determined to make the cut! All he needed was a good Penalty Kill Situation or a Stickhandling Obstacle Course to impress the coach.
Matty slipped out onto the ice confidently and naturally. It was almost as if he was born with a pair of skates on (a quite crappy pair of skates). It seemed that skating was like second nature to him- which, by far, was an advantage against his opponents.
As Logan went down the tunnel behind a few of the hopeful freshman trying out for the team, he took to the ice, skating around the rink with the other rookies. He loved the feeling of the wind flowing over him as he glided across the ice and did his warm up laps to get used to the surface a bit.
Logan gripped firmly onto his hockey stick as he skated a few laps around the ice. He couldn’t believe he was actually skating on a college rink! Soon, the coach from before came out wearing skates onto the ice, holding his clipboard. He wore a hat with the Bruins team logo on it- a red and black roaring bear. The coach blew his whistle, “Everyone in boys!” he yelled, motioning for the freshman to stop skating their warm up laps and huddle around him.
Logan did as he was told, exhaling as he peeled off from the perimeter of the rink and joined the other freshmen in circling around the coach. “Alright boys, we’re gonna start of with a nice and simple drill. I want you to skate one lap around the ice, then turn around, and back skate the next lap. Let’s get the blood moving ok?” the coach instructed.
Pfft, this was easy, thought Logan. He’d done harder drills in high school hockey practice! Back in high school, Logan was by far the most skilled player on the team. He was even promoted to captain in only his sophomore year in high school! He had a long way to go if he ever hoped to captain the Twinecrest Bruins. Right now he just needed to focus on MAKING it on the roster of the Bruins. Logan was ready to show the coach what a capable skater he was. He’d been doing this for years- skating since he was five years old!
As the team huddled in, Matthew made sure to focus on every detail their coach was describing. It was a pretty simple task. The freshmen just had to do one of the most basic things in Hockey: Skate.
"Yes sir," he muttered softly.
He learned in his High School league that the best way to a coach's heart was through pure obedience. They were like generals, forming and molding warriors to fight a battle. Hockey was practically a battle-- so many things could happen which could change the playing field. It's what got Matthew excited. Simply skating on the ice, forward and backward, was motivation itself.
As the group dispatched from their coach, the potential players drifted further onto the ice. Matthew stuck close to the middle of the group. He didn't want to stand out and let his confidence and composure get the best of him. He needed to maintain his calm, collective mind. Plus, if anyone here was really a duster, they'd quickly fall behind from the rest of the group from skating backwards.
Matthew glanced around, studying the faces of his 'opponents'. Everyone seemed so focus. Though, there were a few runts in the group who looked scared-shittless. But this is why tryouts were being held- to seperate the weak from the stars. It was harsh, but it was life. Not everyone can earn a trophy.
Logan put his game face on and immediately took to the front of the pack. He sprinted as fast as he could on the ice, his strides and form near perfect. As the drill went on, the group of skaters began to separate a bit. There was Logan and a couple of other boys in the front, a solid middle of the pack, and then the few who lagged behind in the back.
After completing his first lap, Logan quickly pivoted to begin back skating. He was an excellent skater and that included all aspects of skating- back skating too. Logan hoped the coach was watching him closely and was at least a little impressed. Logan quickly eyed the rest of the playing field, analyzing his opponents and possible future teammates. He was determined to beat them, whatever it took.
Logan was one of the first boys to complete the drill. He stopped near the benches where the coach was occasionally looking up at the skaters and then back down at his clipboard to jot something down. Eventually all of the boys finally finished the skating drill and met in a huddle near the bench. “Alright boys, good skate. But that was just the warm up,” said the coach.
“What I really wanna see is your shot,” the coach said. He then bent down and grabbed a bag, exiting the bench and skating out onto the ice. The boys followed the coach as he dumped out the contents of the bag. Out came at least 15 pucks onto the ice. Clearly they were going to do a shooting drill.
“Your shot is probably the most important thing in hockey next to skating. If you can’t skate, you’re shit. If you can’t shoot, you can’t score and we can’t win. Show me you deserve to be on this team and line up in a single file line at the blue line. Each of you take a puck and I want you to impress me with your shot. Feel free to add any fancy stick handling movements or dekes- just as long as you get the puck on net fast,” explained the coach.
Logan nodded. Again, this seemed easy enough. He could totally do this. Logan skated over to grab one of the pucks on his stick and filed in behind some of the boys near the blue line. The coach blew the whistle and the first boy’s shot attempt was underway.
Matthew kept a steady pace as he skated forward. He was one of the ones who was advancing forward in the middle, clumped area of skaters. However, when it was time to switch directions, he took a further lead, catching up with some of the faster ones in the group. His eyes locked onto the guy from the locker room whom he had spoken to earlier. He was ahead of the rest of the boys. Even from a distance, he reeked of confidence.
A small smile formed under Matthew's mask.
Maybe all the talent comes from his skates... After all, he did have Bauer Vapor Skates...
It made him softly and incoherently chuckle, but his mind quickly snapped back into focus as their potential coach gave them new instructions.
Of course they were going to practice some shooting drills! It seemed inevitable but Matthew thought they'd do a passing drill first. It was fine. This was the perfect opportunity for him to show his puck-handling skills (which he had been working extra hard on over the summer).
The man nodded his head once the coach was done giving his instructions. He followed behind the others as the freshmen boys collectively skated over to the pucks and sticks. He swiftly and quickly picked a puck and stick and skated towards the line. Coaches always like to see hustle with their players.
Again, Matthew found himself in the middle of the line. He was a bit anxious but he tried to calm down his nerves. He knew he was a good player--and if he didn't make the team--nothing about his skills would change.
It seemed the first guy in line was nervous. You could tell by the angle of his shoulders that he hesitated to skate forward at first. His skating was okay, but his head was partially looking down at the puck and not the post in front of him. After a few milliseconds of lousy, boring puck-handling, the guy shot wide off the post. Embarrassing...
If everyone shot like him, making the team would be a piece of cake for Matt.
Logan positioned himself somewhat in the front of the line, but not first. The first kid who went seemed nervous, putting on a show of shaky stick handling before missing the net. There was no excuse to miss the net! A loud ping could be heard as the puck went off the post. There was no goalie and no defensemen trying to prevent you from scoring!
After a few more boys went, it was now Logan’s turn. Logan took a deep breath and got his game face on before taking his puck and stick handling down the ice. Logan decided to show off his soft hands and pull a few fancy moves with the puck. He deked a few times before finally rocketing the puck towards the net. His shot was a laser beam that went bar down.
A loud ping could be heard as Logan’s puck hit the crossbar and went in. He had put on an impressive display. He almost smirked as he skated to the back of the line after his excellent shot. Surely he would’ve scored had their been a goalie there. The coach just had to take him, Logan thought.
A few of the other Freshmen attempted to take a shot at the goal. Then, it seemed it was Logan’s turn to shoot.
Matthew couldn’t help but watch in awe at Logan’s moves. His puck handling was intense yet skillfully planned. It seemed like he was aware of his movements and yet he appeared to be completely relaxed.
It wasn't long until it was Matt’s turn. He released his shoulders from their tense position and focused on the puck below him.
Matthew slid the puck to the right, guiding the puck to follow with his stick. The puck went loose--out to the right— a bit further than what he wanted. It made him tense for a moment as his mind softly panicked. However, he quickly gained back his control.
Matt extended his stick and caught onto the puck. He quickly manipulated his skating to seem as if it was all planned out. His trashed skates pleasingly scratched the ice as he skated backwards. With a swift motion, Matthew snipped it. The puck precisely hit the back of the net and satisfyingly clinked onto the ice.
He smiled happily was he skated over to the other players who had already finished their turn. Some of them looked fearful of being cut while others seemed just as happy as him. The (presumably cocky) smirk of the Bauer Skate guy seemed a little irritating, but Matthew shook off his feelings. It was almost guaranteed that the guy would be selected out of the group. Matthew just hopped he had the same chance.
Logan relaxed a little bit on the line now that he had gone and done so well. He even smiled, pleased with himself and his performance. Surely the coach would take note that he was able to perform fancy moves like that at such high speeds and pull it off. That was the kind of stuff that kept goalie’s guessing. The kind of stuff that went into the back of the net. The kind of stuff they needed on this team.
He watched as the others went. Most of them hit the net but it was nothing special. Logan made notes in his head what shots a goalie would probably stop and what shots a goalie probably wouldn’t have. He was happy to report that most of the shits he saw weren’t anything special. A few kids had a nice snipe or a hard shot but most of them wouldn’t have really stood out in a crowd. Before he knew it, next up was the boy he had talked to in the locker room- the boy with the beat up skates.
Logan hadn’t really been paying attention to the kid with the beat up skates during the skating drill so he didn’t know how the kid had performed there. He watched on as the kid stick handled his way towards the goal and sniped a puck accurately right into the back of the net. Impressive, he thought, but would it be enough to impress the coach and get him on the team? Logan had to admit, he felt he did better. Hell he felt he did the best out of everyone so far. Maybe it was a little overly cocky, but Logan didn’t care. It was all kept to himself in his head.
Soon, the remaining boys finished up the shooting drill. One of them even missed the net trying to get a little too fancy with the puck. The coach then blew his whistle and called everyone in for the next drill. Logan was feeling very confident now. Surely he was on a roll, he thought. The coach then explained what the next drill would be and sent the boys with their pucks skating. The rest of tryouts didn’t get any easier. But finally, after an hour or so, they were over. The coach blew the whistle and brought everyone in for the the last time.
“Alright boys, good tryouts today. Saw a lot of good things. I think I’ve made my decisions. Only four of you have made it,” the coach explained, which caused Logan’s heart to leap. That really lowered his chances, but he was still confident that he had done well during tryouts and wowed the coach with his hockey skills. “Momentarily, I’ll be posting the results outside of the locker room. You can check there in a few minutes to see whether you’ve made it or not,” said the coach. “I’ll be seeing four of you in two days for our first practice of the season. Thanks boys- be proud of yourselves for showing up today,” he said. With that, the coach skated off the ice with his clipboard, presumably to go post the results of tryouts near the locker room.
Logan couldn’t wait to see whether or not he had made the cut. He immediately skated off the ice, excited to check the results. He didn’t even get fully changed yet as he only just took off his helmet and held it under his armpit. He didn’t even bother untying his skates as he stood outside of the locker room now, looking at a sheet of paper with four names on it. Below the name “Matthew Jones” was his own name, “Logan Prescott.” Yes! He had made the team! Logan pumped his gloved fist in the air triumphantly as he wore a smile heading back to the locker room to change out of his hockey gear. He had officially made the Twinecrest Bruins ice hockey team.
Matthew gulped softly as their coach explained that only four players had made the team. The chance at being picked had sunk extremely low.
Only 4 players? Really? And he’s already decided? Geez, I saw some bad players but I didn’t think this guy would be that precise on who he wanted on his team!
Matthew and the rest of the guys skated off the ice to the Locker Room to get changed up. His mind was racing as he was so anxious to see the results. Part of him was excited as hell, but he didn’t want to admit how hopefull he was. After all, there were plenty of guys who were better than him— at least, that’s what Matt thought.
He changed out of his clothes and took the proper steps of putting away his skates. Sure, his skates looked beat on the outside, but the blades were as sharp and new as ever.
Matthew calmly strolled out of the Locker Room. He glanced around, trying to pin-point where the results were posted. Matthew assumed the results were being covered by a group of boys up ahead of him. They came and went quickly, most of them leaving with a sad, defeated look on their face.
His heart began to beat a little faster as he approached the paper with the results that were pinned onto the wall. The font was small but when he got close enough, his eyes landed on a name:
Fuck yeah! He had did it! He was on the team!
His eyes began to light up with joy. Matthew was cautious not to make a huge scene. He didn’t want to come off as cocky or ignorant— nor did he want to upset anyone who didn’t make the team.
Matthew scanned the rest of the list, as he tried to become familiar with the other players’ names. Their jersey numbers were posted next to their names out of convenience.
He wasn’t surprised to see that under his name, a boy named Logan Prescott had made the team. That was the guy he spoke to in the locker room. Good for him. Hopefully, they’d be able to make some killer moves during some of their games. Matthew was excited to meet the team, and even more stoked that he had joined the Twinecrest Bruins.
Logan smiled as he came back to the locker room to actually change out of his hockey gear. He hadn’t bothered changing first because he was so eager to see the final results of hockey tryouts. He carried himself up high, grinning happily as he sat down on the bench and began undoing his skates. As he did so, the other boys were working on getting changed, some of them nervously leaving the locker room and coming back with sad and defeated looks on their faces. All Logan knew was that he was an official member of the Twinecrest Bruins!
He didn’t really catch the name of the kid with the beat up skates. Maybe he said his name and Logan just forgot? But whatever the case was, he was a little curious as to if the kid made the team. He hadn’t done that bad in tryouts so it wasn’t too far off to think that “beat up skate kid” had made the team. Logan felt a little bad for thinking this but that was all this kid really was to him at this point- just some kid with beat up skates.
Logan smiled all the way through as he changed out of his hockey gear. He took his skates off and worked on taking a few of his pads off too. He then took off his jersey and his shirt, putting on a new and not sweaty shirt on and a pair of some new shorts too after he had taken off his hockey pants and socks. Logan quickly analyzed the faces of the boys in the locker room who were coming back. Only one or two seemed content or even happy. The rest just looked deflated.
Matthew clenched the strap of his practice bag as he became overjoyed inside. He moved aside for the others to glance at the list given that he was already satisfied with the results. Something felt off. He had forgotten his helmet in the Locker Room! It seemed odd to have an extra hand free.
He returned back to the Locker Room and quietly traced back his steps. Lucky for him, he spotted his helmet sitting on the bench next to a player who was changing. Matthew walked over and picked up his helmet but his eyes landed on the guy in front of him. It was that one guy-- the one who had some killer skills on the ice.
Without much thought, Matt struck up a conversation again.
"Hey, uh, just wanted to say that you did really good out there," he said smoothly as he shrugged his shoulder and smiled.
"You have really good puck-handling skills. It was cool to watch," he complimented once more.
Matthew was a positive person, sure-- but it wasn't every day that he went out of his way to give a player a compliment. Plus, he's never been one to be impressed easily.
As Logan was getting changed out of his hockey gear, he noticed out of the corner of his eyes someone come back into the locker room. He saw movement in his peripheral vision, a boy picking up the helmet on the bench that was left next to him. Logan looked up as he heard a voice talking to him. It was the boy with the beat up skates, holding his helmet that he must’ve forgotten.
Logan looked up and raised his eyebrows as he looked at who was addressing him. He had to admit the compliment from the other was unexpected but flattering. It wasn’t too often people you were just competing against came up and commented good things about your skills on the ice. Logan stopped what he was doing for a second as he responded.
“Thanks man,” he replied. “I saw your moves today too- they were pretty sick,” said Logan, returning the favor and complimenting the other boy. That’s when Logan realized he didn’t have the kid with the beat up skates’ name. “Hey uhh, I never quite caught your name,” said Logan as he worked on taking his shin pads off.
It was nice to receive a compliment back and it seemed that the guy was sincere.
“I’m Matthew Jones,” he replied with a smile.
“And, correct me if I’m wrong, but you made the team, right? I’d be surprised if you didn’t,” he asked.
Matthew slung down his bag on the ground and placed his helmet back on the bench, seeing that he was now engaged in conversation with this fellow. It was a good idea to make friends with someone who was his potential teammate- especially since they weren’t competing against each other anymore.
Logan raised his eyebrows and then looked up at the boy who introduced himself as Matthew Jones. Matthew Jones! That was who his name was under on the tryouts results list to see who had made the team from that group of hopeful freshman boys!
“Matthew? Oh cool you made the team!” Logan said, remembering reading that name on the list. “I’m Logan Prescott, and yea, I did make the team,” he said with a nod and a soft smile. “Thanks man,” chuckled Logan at the other’s compliment as he took off his elbow pads and threw him in his hockey bag.
“Awesome man, glad to hear you made the team!” he smiled once more.
Matthew then picked back up his bag and helmet from the bench.
“Well, I’ll see you at practice then, Logan,” he said, kindly.
Matthew gave a small waving gesture with his hand before turning to exit the Locker Room. Great- not only had he made the team, but it seemed he had made a friend too! This was going to be another great season.
“Yea dude, me too, glad you made it as well,” said Logan with a friendly smile. He could let his guard down now because this fellow was now his teammate- someone he’d need to create a special bond with. “I’ll see you out on the ice tomorrow for practice,” he said as he waved goodbye to his newfound friend. This season seemed like it was going to shape up to be a good one.
The next day after classes, the Twinecrest Bruins held practice that evening for the hockey team. Today, Logan and Matt would get to meet the rest of the team, all of the other older members. Logan felt his stomach churn nervously as he stepped into the locker room. Inside there were already countless guys getting read for practice, suiting up in their official Twinecrest University ice hockey team practice gear. Logan looked around and hoped to find the now familiar face of Matthew Jones.