Linda Saunders arranged a meeting with the hockey wives one hour before the Cougars game against the Norberry Knights. She had a difficult time keeping it together as she made her speech in front of the other girls. Her hands appeared to be shaking and she was very red in the face.
She began her statement by telling the other girls that she had been very mean to both Rick Miller and especially Misty Roberts.
“Girls, I am ashamed to say that my behaviour towards Misty Roberts has been both hurtful and cruel. She doesn’t deserve to be talked about the way I have recently been talking about her. My cousin, Rudy is not the most trustworthy individual that I know. I should not have used him as a source when spread those horrible rumours about both Misty and Rick Miller. I’m very sorry and ashamed about hurting Misty. With that being said, from now on we are going to take the high road where Misty is concerned. I ask that all of us will do our best tonight to be friendly and loving towards Misty. We need to make her feel that she is one of the girls. I will be the first one to greet Misty tonight and I will offer her a very sincere and heartfelt apology.”
The girls were all sitting on the long benches in an empty dressing room. They were all quite shocked by Linda’s speech. Most of them shook their heads in agreement as Susan, Eric Coswell’s girlfriend said, “Let’s do it.”
As Linda Saunders left the meeting she went out in the parking lot to clear her head. She was very angry with Miles for making her give this speech to the girls. Linda was starting to re-evaluate her relationship with Miles Meyers. She thought:
If Miles was a real man, wouldn’t he have taken the beating from Godzilla to protect his girlfriend’s honour and credibility?
If the circumstances were different and she didn’t value being the leader of the hockey wives Linda would probably have broken up with Miles on the spot. The problem was the Linda Saunders enjoyed her prominent position in the hockey wives circle. If she dumped Miles, there wouldn’t be any more players on the Cougars that she could date. Linda sat down and thought about her alternatives after tonight’s game was over. She knew that she was a smart girl if she waited patiently a good idea would come to her.
“Why did you call Misty his slut girlfriend?” Cindy demanded.
“Because she is. I got that information from Rudy too. He told me that he saw Misty with some freak called Gypsy at The Lake Mariposa Rock Festival. Rudy says that Misty loves drugged out hippy guys. She’ll sleep with anyone she meets. Before Rick, Misty was dating this grease ball called Jim. Jim is such a slime ball that he used to beat up Misty regularly.”
Just then Miss Redding, the gym teacher, broke in on the discussion and ordered the girls to hurry and get on the gym floor before she started handing out detentions.
As soon as Miss Redding’s back was turned Misty escaped through the back exit door of the girls’ locker room. With tears streaming down her face, Misty ran to her favorite local park about three minutes from the school. She used one of her green gloves to wipe some snow from a park bench. Once a spot was cleared Misty sat on the bench lowered her head and began to cry. She was still very upset by the way Linda Saunders had been talking about her. When Misty looked up there was a bright sun out that enhanced the beauty of the snow covering the branches of the trees. Misty was startled when she felt two hands on her shoulders. She turned around to see Peyton Ramparts and Sabrina Davis.
“Are you skipping gym class too?” Sabrina asked.
“I tried to go to gym class but I’m very sorry that I did,” Misty said starting to weep again.
Peyton looked Misty on the eye and said, “So tell us what happened.” He started using one of his black gloves to clear enough room for he and Sabrina to sit down.
Misty arrived about ten minutes late for her afternoon gym class. She was finishing her cigarette at the smoking pod behind Maplewood Collegiate and was talking to a new girl who had just enrolled in the high school that day. While they were talking Misty lost track of the time. When Misty arrived at the lockers about five minutes late, the other girls were already in the locker room getting changed. Misty waited outside the entrance to the locker room and could hear the other girls talking. The girls’ voices were loud enough that Misty could overhear what they were saying. The dominant voice that drowned out the rest was that of Linda Saunders. Linda was a strong personality that attracted her own group of followers. At this very moment Linda was holding court with a group of four other girls. She had just overhead one of the other girls singing the praises of Rick Miller.
“Rick is such a great goalie. His play is the only reason that our hockey team is still competitive. I just hope that his injuries don’t keep him out of the line up too long. The Cougars have some key games scheduled for the next two weeks,” Sandra said.
“That’s for sure,” Tristan said. “I hate to say it, but I don’t have much confidence in Miles Meyers’ ability to lead the team.
Sandra and Tristan were so busy talking that they hadn’t noticed that Linda Saunders had walked up right behind them.
When the Cougars returned from their dressing room to start the second period defenceman, Eric Coswell skated over to Rick’s goal crease to tap his pads with his stick.
“You’re playing great tonight Rick. You’re really keeping us in the game. If Brent was in goal I bet we’d be behind by three goals already.”
“Don’t be so hard on the kid. Give him some time. Brent’s been working hard. He just needs more experience,” Rick replied.
“I’m still glad you’re playing tonight, Rick,” Eric said.
“Just remember, Eric. We can take these guys. A win against the Knights this early in the season would give our guys a big boost and would really increase their confidence,” Rick said.
“That’s another reason I like you Rick, your positive attitude.”
“Hey, I’ve never played for a losing team and I don’t intend to start now,” Rick said.
“I’ll pass your words of encouragement on to the guys when I get back to the bench,” Eric said.
In the stands Susan turned towards Misty. “The teams sure lucky to have Rick with us this year. He’s giving us a chance to be a winning team.”
Misty took a sip from her cup of coffee and smiled. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad going out with a star hockey player.
Linda Saunders, Brent’s girlfriend, overheard this conversation and gave Misty and Susan a dirty look. Before Rick Miller decided to join the Cougars for one more season the other girls were singing the praises of her boyfriend, Brent. Linda was afraid that this would cause her to lose some prestige among the rest of the player’s girlfriends.
Linda turned to Shelly who was standing next to her in the stands. “You know Shelly. I’ve heard some wild stories about Rick Miller and his new girlfriend, Misty.”
Shelly looked surprised. “Yeah? Like what?”
“I heard that both Rick and Misty are really into drugs and that Misty really sleeps around,” Linda said.
“Wow!” was all that Shelly could say.
Misty could guess what the term, ‘hockey wives’ meant and was not sure that she liked the implications. She could not imagine her prime identity as a hockey player’s boyfriend. As she watched the first period of the game she was not sure that she even liked hockey. She wondered if some of the other girls felt the same way and only attended the hockey games because they loved their boyfriends. Misty also thought that for most of the girls being attached to a hockey player was an important part of their identity. For them being a hockey player’s girlfriend was an important status symbol. The women’s liberation movement was starting to make some head way in the sixties, but it seemed to not have had much impact on the majority of Canadian females. To these women dating a hockey player was critical to their self esteem and placed them in an elite group at high school.
As Misty scanned the row of ‘hockey wives’ she noted that all were attractive young women. This seemed to imply that a member of the hockey team had to have a good looking girl at his side. If a player couldn’t latch onto a beautiful girl there must be something wrong with him, and he would be better off just being single just as Rick had been before this evening.
Eric’s girlfriend, Susan introduced Misty to the rest of the group.
“Don’t be nervous, Misty. We’ll all have time to talk after the first period ends. During that time the players go to their dressing rooms for fifteen minutes. It gives the guys a chance to rest and to get feedback from their coach. The girls then go to the concession stand to get a coffee or a Coke or maybe have a smoke. I think we only have three smokers in our group. Most of the players don’t smoke and they usually prefer that their girlfriends don’t either,” Susan explained.
As the girls headed for the concession stands Misty noticed that a couple of them were looking at Misty suspiciously. Marlene and Jackie told the others that they needed to use the washroom. Most of the other girls took this as a message that they would need to have a meeting among themselves before they started to socialize with Misty.