Status: NEW

Bow Down

It's Time

It had been two days since I had spoken to Pat about joining the NHL and my team’s WCHL schedule was picking back up as we prepared to face the Toronto Furies on Jan. 7th. It would be our first game in little under a month and everybody was rearing to get back into action. But just because we hadn’t played a game in so long didn’t mean that our head coach, Patrick Rankine, hadn’t drilled us out on the ice every opportunity he could.

He had engineered our practice schedule to have more strength and conditioning exercises but maintain game situational like flow so that we would stay at the peak physical and mental condition we needed to stay at to compete. He was also preparing a select few of us for the Women’s World Ice Hockey Tournament that would begin in early April. I worked extra hard every practice because I knew that I would be one of those few players on the team that would be competing there if I hadn’t been picked up by an NHL team by that time.

For now, I found myself at the end of a long day’s practice cooling down before I would go hit the showers and enjoy some sort of lunch. We had done several scrimmages during practice today and they had all held a game like intensity to them, which had left me exhausted. At the moment, I was so hungry that I could probably eat just about anything that was put on a plate in front of me. Except bananas and bologna which are completely disgusting and I would rather starve than consume either of those foods. But since I’m thinking about food, I could really go for a huge plate of bow tie pasta with meat sauce and garlic beard. Maybe a salad and a glass of soft red wine, too? Oh, I could feel my mouth begin to water at the prospect of having such a carb-loaded meal as I skated around the rink one last time.

Hopping off the ice, I trudged back towards the dressing room growing more aware of how tight my muscles had become over the three day break we had just finished. My legs were especially sore. I’d probably go get a massage or something after I showered because my left knee was killing me. But that knee had always given me problems, nothing to put me on the sidelines but enough to annoy me like a younger sibling. My mental grumblings were cut off as my ringtone erupted from my duffle bag,

‘And it's happened once again. I'll turn to a friend, someone that understands, sees through the master plan. But everybody's gone. And I've been here for too long, to face this on my own. Well, I guess this is growing up. Well, I guess this is growing up. And maybe I'll see you at a movie sneak preview. You'll show up and walk by on the arm of that guy, And I'll smile and you'll wave, we'll pretend-‘

I’m too tired to look to see whose calling me before I answered, sleepily, “Hello, this is Brittany LeMond.”

“Oh good, you’re out of practice now!” Pat’s voice responds on the other end of the connection nearly causing me to fall out of my cubby.

Blinking, I know what this means. There’s only one reason why he would be calling me right now and it’s either really good or really bad. It’s suddenly hard to muster up any composure but I’m able to get enough to avoid spazzing out in front of all of my teammates who have no idea that I could potentially be leaving them.

Fingers crossed, I ask him, eagerly, “Did you find anything?”

A warm chuckle greets my ears. It’s definitely a good sign because Pat doesn’t joke around like that when it comes to business matters such as these.

“I did you one better. I contacted the Flyers, the Blackhawks, the Canadians, the Bruins, the Capitals, the Penguins, and the Lightning. But so the best offer by far is Pittsburgh’s.” The man informed me, happily. He seemed quite proud of himself for managing to pull together offers so quickly.

“Let me guess, does this have something to do with the fact that you’re the agent for both Crosby and Malkin?” I snickered, knowing that he probably had the most influence in Pittsburgh considering that the team had his two most prominent clients.

But leave it to Pat to pull a few strings. Boy, does this man know how to work wonders. I’m amazed that people haven’t started calling Mr. Guarantee because when he says he’s going help you out. He always holds his half of the bargain.

“Only a little. Actually, Shero has been well aware of your presence in the hockey world since you scored the golden goal during the Vancouver Olympics. So I sent him your highlight reels and some situational play footage for him and Dan Bylsma to look at. That was two days ago. He called me first thing this morning to inform me to tell you that he would like to meet with you as soon as possible.”

Holy Shit!

My first reaction after that is that I must be dreaming so I pinch myself on the forearm just to check. The pain from the sudden, intense pressure tells me that I am very much awake and that what I’m hearing is indeed real life.

“When did he have in mind?” I managed to ask through the sudden rush of excitement, joy, and anticipation that was swelling up inside me, clouding all rational thought processes.

Pat pauses for a moment; I can hear him flipping through papers before he answers, “He said he would like for you to come visit Pittsburgh on the 6th. The Penguins have a home game that day against the Rangers. That way you can get down to the brass tacks with Shero and Lemieux, watch their morning skate, and then enjoy the game before heading back to Montreal for your game against the Furies.”

“That soon, eh? Well, that’s what I like to hear because I want to get this ball rolling as soon as possible. Tell Shero, I will be in Pittsburgh on the 6th and that I am thankful for the consideration and the offer.” I inform Pat, graciously, knowing that he will take some of that credit for himself because he was able to get Lemieux on board with this, too!

Now, not only do I get to have a meeting with Ray Shero, the engineer of the Penguins rebuilding that brought them the Stanley Cup in 2009 but also ‘Le Magnifque’, Mario Lemieux, the man I idolized while growing up wants to meet with me as well. Lightheaded by the prospect of meeting #66, I felt like I could hardly breath as I hunched over in my stall. I tried to think of some way to thank Pat for all the hard work he’d put into this and how quickly he had gotten results but no words could express just how thankful I, truly was which left me stammering for words,

“Pat, I-I don’t know what to say. You have no idea how much this means to me. It’s-“

“It’s been your dream since you were a little girl, I know. The day you became my client your father told that. At the time, I thought it was a load of horseshit but I never said anything because it was and still is part of my job to make dreams come true.” He pauses as if he, too is remembering the day I signed to become his client. It was one of the most exciting days of my life because it meant that I was practically a professional hockey player. A few moments later, Pat speaks again, his voice, slightly thicker,

“But anyways, I will be calling Meg Hewings this afternoon to inform her of our plans. I also looked over your contract, which will over at the end of the regular season. You are also currently an unrestricted free agent. So in all terms, you are free to go as you so choose.”

“Well, that’s a relief. Now, I have some packing I need to do. Thanks once again for all your effort over the years. It means a lot to me.” A watery smile grew upon my lips as I thank him and it was all because my father had told him of my lifelong dream all those years ago.

Chuckling, Pat said one last thing before he let me go, “It’s no problem. If anyone deserves this, it’s you Brittany.”

After my conversation with Pat ended, I got undressed from my practice gear as quickly as I could. I knew that I had to go home, get tickets to Pittsburgh and arrange for someone to take care of my dog while I was gone. Hopefully, I wouldn’t end up falling from cloud nine when this trip was said and done. Hopefully, I would be pulling on a black and gold sweater in a few short weeks.

Two days and nearly four hours later, my eyes landed on the city I hoped to call my new home. It was different than Montreal, more industrial as one would expect of the Steel City but nonetheless breathtaking. As my plane flew above the skyscrapers and I managed to get my first glimpse of the CONSOL Energy Center. Right away I knew this place would the right fit for me. It felt like coming home after being away for so long. Hopefully, it would the right fit for the team as well because in a few short hours I was set to find out.
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Brittany's Outfit Post Practice

Thanks for everyone who has read this story so far. The next one is going to have James in it! It will also merge with my Courageous story.

Special thanks to dreamforever for being the first person to comment on this story! Thanks so much!