October 8, 2014

You Are Gone

This entry was going to be a description of a singular day of perfection on the ice. Tales of shut outs and highlight goals and locker room elation. Hopefully I can come back to that recent day in a future entry. Instead I'm writing about a beer league no-no and something I never expected to happen.

It really started much earlier in the game than the incident that had me exiting the ice with 3 minutes remaining in the third period. Yes, you read that right. I skated out of my crease, off the ice and into the locker room with time remaining.

It started with an early goal by my team to dash out to a 1-0 lead that quickly led to three unanswered goals and two goal deficit. I wasn't playing particularly well but the third goal was a result of a break away while the other team was short-handed. This didn't bode well for our chances. But what happened late in the second really set the tone for what was to come.

An opposing winger decided to crash the net and set up camp in my crease, only he didn't get stopped in time and plowed into me as I was tracking the puck. I saw him in time to brace myself and push back against him- causing him to tumble to the ice. No call on either of us from the refs. I wasn't happy but it happens- especially at low level beer league hockey where intention and outcome sometime don't align themselves.

With a little more than three minutes left in the third, the score remained 3-1 and our team wasn't able to make much of a push. The opposing team kept the puck on our side of the rink. With the puck in our zone, an opposing winger again decided to crash the net without the puck but this time I saw him coming. I came out of my stance as he plowed into me, knocking me back into the post and dislodging the net. I pushed back hard with both arms. I think he went down to the ice.

A whistle.

Slight exaggeration of actual events
The ref signals that I am getting a penalty. No signal for the opposing winger.

I was hot and I let the ref know it. I shouted and pled my case. How could he assess a penalty against me when the other player crashed my net without the puck? I got no reply which made things worse. Next the words came out of my mouth that would end my night. I thought at the time I was showing restraint but the ref didn't agree. With the single phrase, "You're full of shit", the ref skated to the penalty box and moments later my captain told me the ref had kicked me out of the game. There's a first time for everything.

I could tell you the reasons for why I get hot when players crash the net; safety, injuries, respect. I'm sure the other player and definitely the ref have their own version of the event. I'm aware of the rules in this league that prohibit hurling foul language at the officials. So in the end, I'm guilty as charged and accept I broke that rule.

The morning after, I've got mixed emotions but in the end I've got a competitive streak a mile long and I'm never going to let opposing players run my net without some reaction. And when I feel I'm wronged, everyone on the ice is going to know about it- including the officials.

It probably made for some great locker room gossip amongst the teams waiting for the next ice time. Maybe it'll slow down one of them who decide to run the net. Or maybe I'll have to push and knock the next player down. But the next time I'll try not to include a naughty word if the ref calls me for it.