well that's a first
chapter 01: the flashback
The first had been the first game of the season. The first of me being the first female in the NHL and playing for the Blackhawks. It was a game of firsts; goals, assists, penalty shots, smiles from Captain Serious. But, for the love of God, I hoped this one didn't turn out like that first game...
"Tonight marks your first game with the Chicago Blackhawks, how are you feeling tonight? Is the team confident in their potential performance against Nashville?" the interviewer was a nice-looking blond lady, awkwardly interviewing her in the corner that had been reserved for me. The whole only female on the team thing was still being sorted out; mainly in the change room.
"Honestly, the team has been great in practice lately and things seem to have really been working for the time I've been here. We've got so many strong players on the team and I really think that this is going to be a good season. Tonight is just to get into the swing of things, but I don't doubt that there'll be a lot of skill from both sides. It should be a good game," I answered with a smile, trying my best not to guarantee any results we couldn't get.
Yeah, things had been going pretty well, except for the fact that some of the guys on the team still doubted my abilities. But, that's what came with the territory... said territory being the whole boobs thing.
"Alright, well we'll be looking for you tonight! Good luck with the first game of the season!" I only managed to force a weak smile before she left with the cameras, probably moving on to say the same shit to the other team.
"Is it all clear in there?" I heard someone call out, smirking as I recognized Kaner's voice, "Mhmm." I mumbled, continuing to put on the last of my equipment as I heard him enter her little area of the changeroom. "Dude I'm naked!" I joked, watching him aggressively whip an arm up to shield his eyes, "Kidding."
He uncovered his eyes with a grin, shaking his head as he rested his hands on his hips and forming what looked liked some sort of superstar pose, "How do I look? First game ready?"
I whistled in between laughs, clapping before having to slip my gloves on, "Lookin' totally hot, Kaner. You better hope you play that way too!" He smirked and punched me gently in the arm, picking up my stick to examine it.
"What a beauty... you excited to test it out for the first game? You're a legend now, McLean - first women in the NHL." He paused for a moment, realizing what he sounded like, holding out an empty glove as though there were a microphone in it, "How are you feeling going into this game?"
"Well, Patrick, I think I'm prepared to keep up with my team mates and my opponents. Maybe tonight'll be the night I win over Captain Serious," I replied, mirroring his exaggerated announcer voice with a smirk. "Honestly, though, Kaner, do you think I'll do alright?"
"Dude, you made it all this way, you just gotta work as hard as you have been in practice and let the team come together. Jonny'll get over it, I'm pretty sure he's just got a little crush on you. The guys will get used to you, trust me." He reassured, patting me on the back as he walked me over, grabbing his own stick as we waited in the center of the changeroom for Coach Q.
My eyes wandered to Jonathan, who might have been looking at me, judging how quickly his eyes seemed to shoot down. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Patrick making kissy faces, but stopped immediately when Tazer seemed to have saw him as well. A faint smirk actually managed to creep onto his mouth, until his glance returned to my direction and he went stern. Glancing elsewhere, I met the glances of Richards and Shaw, who gave me the same sorts of looks as Toews.
It was the third period. 4-3 for Nashville, and the team wasn't exactly playing at it's prime. My line had two goals. I'd hit one bar down after a faceoff win at the center ice and then one I'd set up for Richards. The other one had been a beauty from Kaner assisted by Toews, which sent the crowd into a frenzy.
That had been about a minute ago.
But Shaw had been hit from behind, which put the Blackhawks on a power play. By some sort of surprise, too, I'd been put in for Shaw on the powerplay line.
Despite their lead, the Predators didn't cease their aggression, going as far as to slide out in front of me on a break away, a trip which sent me face first into the ice and causing Jonathan, a rare fighter, to go after Smith.
The refs managed to break it up, though, but Smith didn't stop his chirping. "Hey, sorry, ladies, I didn't know I'd gone after Toews' girlfriend there!" he chuckled, spitting in their direction before being dragged to the penalty box. It was a moment before I watched and realized what was happening: I had a penalty shot. The crowd gradually got louder as everyone lined up, leaving me standing alone at the line.
"Hey," I heard from behind me, an arm resting on my shoulder as I turned to be left looking up at Toews, who was actually sporting a faint smile. "After tonight, I think you've helped us all realize that you deserve to be here... just make it obvious." He smiled, turning to skate away, leaving me smirking to myself despite the nerves.
"Let's go McLean!" I heard Kaner yell out, almost sounding as though he were laughing a bit. Goddamn showoff knew that we'd all rather it be him out here shooting.
I started off slow when the whistle blew, skating in on the left with the puck, speeding up as I neared the goalie. After some stick handling for show, I pulled back my stick as though to shoot, but I quickly pulled it over, shooting a backhand right through his five-hole. The crowd erupted as the buzzer went off, leaving her only with a smile on her face as she just gave a modest fist pump, skating alongside the bench to high five her teammates, catching the smiles of Toews, Kane, Keith, and Richards as their line went back out on the remaining powerplay.
The game was now tied 4-4.
"AND WE START OFF THE SEASON WITH A VICTORY!" Kane yelled in the crowded bar, sending the rest of the team into cheers of our own, raising our beers to tap against his, Toews' game winning goal ("assisted by McLean and Kane!") playing in the background of their celebration.
After the immediate hype died down, we all separated into their groups among the team, although everyone made sure to congratulate Kane and Toews on their great work on the final goal, even occasionally telling me what a great first game I'd had. Tazer and Kane were right, I'd definitely won over a few of the guys, Sharp making it especially obvious that we were now best friends, a non-negotiable decision. "I love this woman!" he'd yelled after a good three beers, his arms around me and Kane as we watched the highlights of the game from off ice, staring at the screen with awe as we watched out comeback unfold throughout the game.
"Hey, I just wanted to say you played great," this voice was a nice change from the rest, actually quiet among the screaming others. It was Toews with a smile plastered on his lips, a beer in hand as he awkwardly stood in front of me.
"Thanks, Captain," I replied with a smirk, giving a faint bow in his direction before taking a sip of my own drink. "Does this mean we're best friends now, too?" I joked, which triggered an awkward laugh and redirection of his glance. Over his shoulder, I could see Kane making the same kissy faces he'd made before, only now Seabrook and Sharp joined in, all of them laughing as though it was the most comical thing ever. God, there were definitely wrong; Jonathan couldn't even look at her! I flipped them all off before suggesting we join the rest of the team in their celebrations.
I really didn't need the awkward conversation with my hot captain who definitely hated me.
But, then again, no one said this was gonna be easy.
And it sure wasn't easy.
On the bright side, we beat the Predators 3-0 that game.
i wanted to skip through all the awkward team meeting stuff & the obsession from the media about her being the first girl in the nhl so i just decided to flashback to that first game and just hint that the team didn't really love her up until then.
anything in italics is from the "present" aka regular season now. i'm not gonna follow the actual season game for game, but from now on it'll be in the regular season with some flashbacks to preseason / just getting to know the team.
please feel free to give feedback, too! i know this isn't the greatest but it's just the first chapter and i'm getting into the story right now.