And Justice For All

The dirtiest schmucks I run into are always cops and lawyers. And no, I’m not a convicted felon, nor do I even have a criminal record.
I’m talking on the ice, in a hockey game. The legal community was kind enough to invite me to play in a lawyers’ hockey tournament last week at Carleton University, or at least one of the members of that brotherhood did.
It promised to be fun. Each team would be provided with an ex-NHLer (ours’ was Brad Marsh, ex of the Flames, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators.) Eight teams were involved and all players were supposed to have some connection to the legal community.
As in any interesting adventure involving the courts, a wide cornucopia of society was involved. Besides the former pros, most of the players in the various lineups were twenty-somethings and there were some females present. I was the oldest on my team, with even more rings on my tree trunk than Brad Marsh, who had started out with the long-extinct Atlanta Flames, for goodness sake. Ray, an ex-cop who was officiating the game, got in the first shot.
Ray is an amiable sort and our acquaintanceship goes back through many arenas. Before the first puck was dropped he was chatting with me and one of the lawyers’ wives, who happened to be fifty-five years old. When she skated away to the bench, Ray was curious about any family connection.
“Is that your daughter?” he asked. “She looks like you.”
I looked hard at him, wondering if he was serious.
“Uh, no Ray, I have a daughter, but she’s forty years younger than that.”
Are we really trusting the officiating of a hockey game to this man ? He had served thirty years with the Ontario Provincial Police.
“Ray, it’s a good thing that you’re as retired as I am,” was all I was able to retort. I really have to look in the mirror more often.
Good thing that we started out against a relatively easy opponent. Their goalie was a, uh, older gentleman and we jumped out to a quick lead. Bob, another lawyer sitting beside me on the bench, pointed out that said goalie had spent his life doing more than tending goal.
“He was the Premier, or whatever they call them up there, of the Northwest Territories for a long time.”
I glanced back at the goalie crease. I had a question. “If he was the head of the Northwest Territories for so long, why’s he wearing a jersey that says “Yukon’ on it?” Believe it or not, I wasn’t trying to be a wiseass.
Bob didn’t bat an eye. “What’s the difference?” he shrugged. Bob is a partner in a respected Ottawa law firm.
This reminded me of my years picking up eggs and throwing bales of hay on my Uncle Earle’s farm back in the 1960s. He would storm and rant about Pierre Trudeau’s government while we went about our chores. Trudeau, lawyers and Liberals; the unholy trinity that was keeping farmers poor and bankrupting the country at the same time. “You can’t have lawyers running the country,” he’d thunder at me.
Now I knew why. Some of them couldn’t pass a Grade 5 geography test.
Of course, while I’m self-righteously pointing out everyone else’s miscues, I must point out one of my own. The night before this tournament, my family was all watching the Stanley Cup playoffs. My wife, who rarely watches hockey, was tuned in because Bryan Bickell, who played for the Chicago Black Hawks, was playing. During a between-periods interview, one of the fourth liners was pointing out that his role was primarily to be annoying and aggravating. I couldn’t resist.
“You should be a hockey player,” I said as innocently as I could to my wife. I was speaking from twenty seven years of marital experience.
Despite our motley crew of a lineup we survived a shoot-out in our third game to move on to the finals. The rules of the tournament, concocted by lawyers of course, had loopholes large enough for a Mack truck to drive through. I was able to parachute in one of my sons, Adam, for my fifty-five year old ‘daughter’, who’d had a hard time skating. During my second shift I was looking back over my shoulder for an oncoming pass, when I was belted firmly in my chest, knocking me to the ice as well as the breath right out of me. Looking up, when I was able to, all I saw was a small, blonde ponytailed girl. She was still on her feet. Making my way to the bench, I asked anyone if they had got the license number of that Mack truck which had just hit me. Adam was pleased to provide the information.. “That little girl knocked you down. I hear she’s fourteen years old.”
Little girls with super powers notwithstanding, we were able to prevail by a 5-1 count in this final game. I’ll say this for the lawyers; they were able to put on a fine spread at the Heart and Crown Tavern after the tournament. All gratis. Or should I thank their clients ?
Afterwards,I walked into our kitchen at home, all flushed with pride. “We won,” I informed anyone who was listening. No one was. “Would you get the barbeque going?” replied Brenda as she moved about the kitchen. “The boys have a playoff game at the Minto Arena in a little while.”
I shuffled out to the back deck and grimaced with pain as I turned on the gas.
Man, those little fourteen year old girls hit hard !

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