Crossing the Line
by A.D. Fast
Jack is the heaviest hitter on the Bayview Sharks hockey team. When the violence gets out of control, he is forced to make a choice. Things start to get complicated - on the
ice and at home. Now, Jack is looking for answers. What he discovers could change his life forever.
Click here for reading level.
This book is part of the Bayview High series.
To read the first chapter of Crossing the Line, click here. Enjoy!
Other Tea Leaf Press books by A.D. Fast:
After Dinner Barf
Beating Up Daniel
Taking the Lead
The Mystery of the Medieval Coin
To Save a King
Angel Wilson: teenage diva
Crossing the Line
The ice was cold against Jack's cheek as he lay on the ice. He lifted his head and saw a pool of blood on the blue line. He could feel his nose throbbing. He knew it would be swollen for sure. His helmet was lying on the ice at the other side of the arena. A lot of good it's doing there, he thought. He tried to lift his head, but it was heavy. It felt like his brain was pounding. He remembered seeing one of the players from the Lincoln High team skate up from left wing. Then Jack went down like a sack of cement, and his helmet flew off.
Jack shook his head and wiped his bloody face on the sleeve of his blue hockey jersey. Finally, he slowly got back on his feet. He looked over and saw a group over by the penalty box. Four of his teammates were tangled up with some of Lincoln's finest. Another game, another hockey fight. Fists were flying, and the linesmen were trying to break it up. The parents shouted through the arena. Jack could see two men shoving each other in the stands. It looked like they were going to end up in a fist fight, too. A few people were hollering at the coach. Jack couldn't tell exactly what they were saying, but they were waving fists in the air.
The arena was only about half full. Bayview High games weren't drawing much interest these days. It was mostly because the players spent more time in the penalty box than on the ice. Jack briefly scanned the crowd to see if he recognized anyone. He knew it would never happen, but a part of him always looked for his father. Not that he even knew what the man looked like. He took off his glove and reached up under his neck guard. His good luck chain was still there. Any time Jack had a big game--or an exam--he wore his silver chain.
Jack caught sight of the guy from Lincoln who had hit him. He dropped his gloves and clenched his fists. Jack loved a good fight. He could feel himself getting angrier and angrier. He wanted to really pound somebody. He wiped his sweaty, bloody face again with his sleeve and started toward the fight. This was unusual. Jack was usually right in the middle of the fight, not watching from the side.
Jack raced over to dive into the pile of hockey shirts. The referee and the linesmen were already pulling the players apart. A few parents in the crowd were disappointed when the fight was over.
"Come on, let 'em have it!" one man called from a nearby bleacher. Someone else swore at Coach Martins. The players skated around the ice to shake it off. No one was badly hurt--this time. The Bayview Sharks were a tough team. They weren't strangers to fights. And no one was better at a hockey fight than Jack Lucas.
Jack was over six feet of solid muscle. He was seventeen years old, and he was big. Usually, guys his size played defense. Big hockey players were great hitters. Jack, on the other hand, also had real speed on the ice. He was a great stick-handler. He played forward because he was a good play-maker.
Jack was most famous, however, for his fights. A lot of players were actually afraid of him. He and Mike Johnson were the toughest guys on the Bayview Sharks team. It became a challenge to see who could take Jack down. Jack rarely lost a hockey fight. A few of the die-hard fans, and most of the parents, loved it. One person who did not like the fighting was Julie Mayward.
Julie was part of the Bayview Winter Club. The figure skating club and the Bayview Sharks practiced at the same arena. The Winter Club had members from schools all around the area. Julie went to Lincoln High. Bayview High and Lincoln High were archenemies.
Julie had long, curly, dark hair and sparkling blue eyes. Jack had never seen her hair down. She always wore it up in a big clip. Strands of curls would come loose and fall around her face. After she skated, her cheeks and nose always turned red from the cold. Jack thought that she looked like a doll that a little girl would play with.
Julie, Martina, and Mai Ling watched the fight with disgust. The girls especially hated it when the ice had blood on it. The male figure skaters didn't seem to care. All of them, however, looked annoyed today. They hated skating on the ice after the hockey team. The feeling was mutual. The hockey team hated using the ice after the Winter Club. The picks on their figure skates dug chunks out of the ice. The hockey players argued that the ice was cut up so badly they could barely skate.
Usually the zamboni driver would clean the ice in between rentals. Zamboni Dave, however, was seventy years old. He didn't do any more than he had to. He just loved being at the arena, sharpening skates and helping out. Besides, the Sharks and the Winter Club rented the ice together. Then they split the time and split the cost. Zamboni Dave didn't have to clean the ice until both teams were finished. This meant that the ice was pretty bad for whoever went second.
Coach Martins called the players over to the bench. There were only five minutes left in the last period of the game.
"What was that?" Coach Martins asked. He had his hands on his hips, and he looked angry. The players stared at him, still panting from the action on the ice.
"Come on, Coach. We couldn't let them get away with hitting Jack like that," Mike said.
"Guys, I thought I made myself clear. These fights won't win the games for you. I want to see some actual skill out there," Martins said.
Coach Martins was tall and fit, and he also coached the Bayview High rowing team. He had taken over coaching the hockey team this year. He used to be the NHL assistant coach for the Jacksonville Niners. Mr. Hochuk, the previous coach for the Bayview Sharks, would have been yelling and spitting. Not because of the fight, but because no one on the other team was hurt.
"Well, it'll teach them a lesson. They can't just go after our best players," Drew Parker said. He turned his head to spit on the ice. The spit landed on Mike Johnson instead. Mike made a face and gave Drew a shove.
"Just focus on your game, Drew. You let the puck go earlier. And Big Dog, you look like a pit bull on skates. Skill, people. We need skill, not a bunch of loose cannons," Coach Martins said. "Let's see if we can finish this game without another fight."
"Ahem..." one of the parents coughed from the bleachers behind them. Some parents were still standing up. They had coffee cups in their hands. Mike's dad was one of them. He wanted his son to play pro hockey, and he was the first one cheering when the fights started.
"Martins, don't give me this 'no fighting' crap," Mr. Johnson said loudly.
Mike was big and tough, but he still listened to his dad. Mr. Johnson told Mike to fight no matter what and taught him how to play dirty. If boarding a player were allowed, Mike's dad would have him do it. Even if it meant breaking a player's neck. "Yeah, Coach, we have to hit them hard," Mike said.
"No, you HAVE to get the puck into the net," Coach Martins answered.
The players nodded their heads. They skated back to the center line for the faceoff. Jack won the faceoff and passed the puck up to Big Dog. Big Dog was short and strong. He had lightning speed. He took the puck down the wing and beat the defenseman. Then he passed it to Mike. Mike was waiting on the far post. The goalie was at the other side of the net. Mike tipped the puck into the wide open net for an easy goal.
The crowd cheered and stomped their feet. Seconds later the sound of the buzzer filled the arena. The Sharks had won the game. But two of their best players got a one-game suspension for fighting.
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