Enjoy this free preview of Chapter 1 of The Intergalactic Adventures of the Rainy River Bees!
Derek took a peek over his shoulder as he skated towards his goal. He didn’t see any blue Toronto jerseys racing him for the puck. He skated around his goal and used the blade of his stick to make it lay flat.
“Time, Derek, Time!” yelled Goose, his team’s goalie. Goose was the nickname the whole team used, even Coach.
Derek took a second to peek at the gigantic jumbotron over center ice:
There were only six minutes left in the second period. Derek’s team, the Rainy River Bees, were losing by two goals.
Hang on a minute. You’ve probably never heard of Rainy River. Right?
Rainy River is a cozy little town in northern Minnesota. It’s right on the eastern end of the Rainy River. The river is also part of the border between the United States and Canada. There’s one thing that everyone in Rainy River has in common: They’re crazy about hockey.
The Rainy River Bees were the top peewee hockey team in town. To make the team you have to be one of the best eleven or twelve-year-old hockey players in town. And this year, the Bees were so good that none of the other towns could beat them. So towards the end of spring, all the adults and businesses in town collected money. They raised enough to send the Rainy River Bees to Toronto, Canada so they could play in the North American Hockey Championships.
It took eighteen hours to drive to Toronto. After two whole days on a cramped bus, they arrived in the biggest city any of them had ever seen. Rainy River only had 20,000 people. But Toronto had almost 7,000,000.
The tournament gave the Bees a chance to play teams from all over North America. They beat teams from New Jersey, California, Montreal, and St. Louis. And now they were playing in the championship game. A showdown against the undefeated Toronto All-Stars.
Back to Derek: He couldn’t believe he was playing in the Air Canada Center. The same stadium the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL play in. He was tall for a twelve year old, but the stadium made him feel small. The ceiling looked like it was a mile away. Seeing eighteen thousand people watching him made his hands start shaking.
Jake skated back towards Derek, along the left boards. He slammed his stick on the ice. Derek looked over to his defensive partner and passed him the puck. Jake bolted up the ice and Derek followed. The Bees had one minute left on their power play, before Toronto’s best player left the penalty box.
The Bees were desperate for a goal. And when you need a goal, you want Jake to have the puck. He was the best player on the Bees. Back in Minnesota, he led the league with over forty goals. Jake crossed the blue line into Toronto’s zone. A Toronto forward skated over to try and steal the puck. With a flick of his wrists, Jake slid the puck between the Toronto player’s legs and spun his body around him. The Toronto player was so surprised he almost fell over.
Jake picked up the puck and cracked a smile. He loved showing off his skills. The move was one of his favorites since it was so tricky to pull off. Jake took the puck further into the zone and looked over his shoulder. He saw Tim, the team captain, skating behind him. Right where he was supposed to be.
Jake waited for a Toronto defenseman to make a move towards him. Then Jake passed the puck backwards between his legs. Tim didn’t waste a second. He unleashed a big slap shot, blasting the puck over the goalie’s shoulder. The stadium horn blasted, causing the thousands of Toronto fans to boo. But some fans cheered along with the Bees.
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