The Magic Hockey Skates
Story by Allen Morgan Pictures by Michael Martchenko (MUSIC) One day in December, when fall was all through and the cold winter weather finally returned to freeze the rinks in the parks again, Joey got out his old hockey skates and tried them on. “They don’t fit any more,” he told his dad. “I need a new pair.” “It looks like you’re growing again,” his
dad sighed. “I guess we’d better be stopping in at the
skate store tomorrow.” “Great,” said Joey’s brother, Zach. “I can buy a new goalie mask.” Joey had his eye on a new pair of skates he’d
seen in the window the week before. But when they arrived at the store the next
day, his dad headed straight for the second-hand rack. “These should do nicely,” the salesman said
as he helped Joey try them on. “A fine, sturdy pair and the laces are new.” “A good fit, too,” Joey’s dad agreed. “We’ll take them!” Joey’s heart sank. He’d been hoping they wouldn’t. “New skates would fit even better, I bet.” “Your feet are still growing,” his dad answered
back. “A used pair will do
for now.” Joey’s dad went to the front to pay. His brother did too, but on the way
he gave Joey a nudge and he made a face. Joey looked down at his feet in
dismay. “Zach’s right,” he muttered. “They’re garbage skates.” The salesman heard what Joey said and he smiled
in a kindly way. “I know they don’t look like much,” he admitted. “But actually, these
are the best skates we have. They’re magic!” “Sure,” said Joey, but he didn’t really think
so. The salesman leaned closer and lowered his
voice. “They’ve got power!” he whispered. “Real power! Just give them a rub and
make a wish. If your wish has anything to do with skating,
it’s bound to come true. Try it. You’ll see!” Joey’s eyes grew wide in spite of himself. “Anything I want?” he asked. “Absolutely!” the man whispered back. “Whenever these skates come to
someone new, they always have-three fresh wishes inside.” Joey tried out his first wish the next day
on the rink in the nearby park. His brother Zach wanted to practise with his
new goalie mask. None of the other big kids were around, so he asked if Joey could take a few shots,
one-on-one. “I know you’re just small and not all that
good, but it’s only for fun and it’s better than nothing,” he said. When Zach wasn’t looking, Joey bent down and
rubbed his skates. “I wish
I could be a better skater,” he whispered. He picked up his stick and went out on the
ice. For a while nothing
seemed very different at all. He kept losing the puck, he had two major
falls and a number of smaller ones too. Then slowly but surely his skating improved. His ankles straightened up, his stride smoothed
out and he dipped and he deked and he streaked down the ice like a pro. By the end of the morning, he was skating much
better than he ever had before. “Hey, that was great!” Zach told his brother when they went inside
for lunch. “Maybe those skates aren’t so bad after all.” Joey smiled back. He had to agree that he thought so too. Joey got better and better each day. He discovered the trick of skating
backwards, his shooting was faster, his aim more true. And although the skates were helping him do it, his own self was doing a lot of it too, because he tried very hard and he practised each day. And all the time he was working that way, he thought about what his next wish should be. He finally knew on Saturday. Some of the big kids from down below King
Street came over and challenged the neighbourhood team to the world hockey championships, best out of one. Zach and his friends were eager to play, but they had to find at least one more player to make a full six-man team. Joey stepped forward and said he would try. Zach’s friends all laughed. “We can’t use him!” one of them jeered. “He’s only a squirt!” “Hey listen, you guys,” Zach replied. “He may only be a little squirt,
but he’s the biggest little squirt we can get today!” So, they let Joey play. Just before the, game got underway, Zach took
his brother aside. “I’m taking a chance on you, Joey,” he said,”I
don’t know why, I must be out of my head today. Try not to make me look stupid, okay?” “Don’t worry,” Joey told him. “My skates are magic!” “Magic?” “Sure,” said Joey, and he explained how they
worked . “Oh, great,” Zach groaned. “Magic skates. I knew I was crazy to let you play. If the other guys ever hear about this, I’m
dead.” He put on his mask and went out on the ice. Joey bent down and rubbed his skates. He hoped that they still had some magic inside. “I wish I could skate like the big kids,”
he whispered. And as it turned out, that’s exactly what
happened. Even though Joey was the
smallest one there, no one could touch him at all! He went end to end up and
down the rink, stealing and passing the puck. When the game was over the
neighbourhood team was the champion of the world and the King Street crew had
to slink home in shame. All of Zach’s friends were especially pleased
with the way Joey had played. “Way to go, Squirt, you were ace!” they exclaimed. “Come play in our games any
time you want. We can always use guys like you.” “You were great,” Zach said, as they walked
back home. “I didn’t know you could
skate like that. Who showed you those moves?” “I told you,” said Joey. “It’s the skates. They’re magic!” “Yeah, right. I forgot. How many wishes did you say they’ve got?” “Three,” Joey
told him. “But I’ve already used up two. You do believe that they’re magic, don’t
you?” “Could be, maybe so,” his brother agreed,
but he looked at the skates suspiciously. “If they really are magic, you only have one
wish left, you know. I hope you save
it for something big.” Joey saved his third wish carefully. He waited all winter for just the right thing. Finally, one day in early spring, his chance
came along. His brother’s Atom hockey team was playing
in the league championships. Joey took
his skates to the game that day. He thought he might wish for his brother to
win, but he wasn’t too sure that the magic would
work from all the way up in the stands. He decided to wait and see how the game went. For a while it went fine. Zach was doing quite well in goal and he stopped
lots of shots. By the end of the first period the game was
tied at three. “Maybe they won’t even need my help,” Joey
told himself hopefully. But near the end of the second period, Zach made a diving save. He disappeared under a pile of
players, and when they all finally untangled again, Zach stayed down on the ice. “He’s hurt!” Joey gasped. Joey rushed into the locker room with his
mother and dad. They were all very glad
when they saw it was only an ankle sprain. “You’ll be fine again in a few days,” his
dad explained. What about now? Can’t I go back to the game?” Zach asked. “I don’t see how,” his dad replied. “It’s probably best if you give it a rest. There’ll be lots of other games, son.” “Not like this one,” Zach said hopelessly. “It’s the championship!” He looked so sad and completely lost that
Joey felt sad too. “But his team’s depending on him,” he said. “The second string goalie’s no good
at all. They’ll lose the game for sure.” “Maybe it won’t be as bad as you think,” his
mother said. Unfortunately, she was
wrong about that. The crowd gave a cheer. Joey looked out through the locker room
door. It was the end of the second period. The score was six to three. “We’re dead,” Zach groaned. Then he told his parents they could head back
out to the stands again. “Don’t worry about me, I’ll be okay. I’ll watch the rest of the
game from here, I guess.” Joey stayed behind. He knew it was time for his third magic wish. “Don’t worry, Zach,” he told his brother. “I’ve got my magic skates with me!” “So?” “So put them on,” Joey explained. “They still have one wish left, you know. Maybe
they’ll help you finish the game.” Zach stared down at Joey’s skates. They looked very magic. They even glowed. And all in a flash he suddenly knew they could really do wonderful things. But still,
even so, they were much too small. “No way, Joey boy. My feet are too big. The only guy they fit is you. Hey, wait
just a minute. That’s it!” he cried. “You could wear them yourself, okay?” “What good would that do?” “Plenty!” said Zach, “Those skates are magic
and they’ll work for you. Grab my
extra uniform and get dressed fast! You can take my place in goal.” “Take your place? That’ll never work!” “Sure it will,” Zach told him. “This is your chance to be big like me. Make the same moves that I always do and play the same as I play. Nothing more. Then the game will end the same way as it would if I hadn’t been hurt. You don’t need to
worry. You’ll have on my mask so they won’t see your
face. No one will ever know!” They certainly were. They worked perfectly! Whenever a shot was taken on net,
Joey was there to block it. The crowd went crazy and so did
the team. They got so excited by Joey’s great saves they played the best hockey they’d ever played. They shot! They scored! Again and again! The score was soon even at six a piece. With twenty seconds to go in the game, they
faced-off by Joey’s goal. The crowd got up on its feet and clapped. The players were tense. They tried to get ready. Joey got ready too. His team lost the draw and the puck came back
all the way to the point. The slapshot that followed was a cannon blast-
low, hot and fast, it went straight for the corner. But Joey got there just in time. Joey slid off to the side of the net and the
puck was right there on his stick. His teammates were down, there was nowhere
to pass and the seconds were ticking away. There was nothing to do but to do it himself,
so Joey took off with the puck on his own. He skated so fast he was only a blur as he
flew down the ice. The crowd began counting the seconds off. “TEN…NINE…EIGHT…SEVEN…” With four seconds left Joey reached centre
ice and stopped before his skates crossed the line. There was just enough time for one final try, so he drew back his stick and he let the puck fly. His shot was quick and surprisingly tricky. The other team’s goalie made a desperate dive, but the puck slid under his outstretched glove and into the net. The siren sounded right after the score. Game over! They won it, seven to six! The crowd went wild! While the rest of the team made a victory
pile, Joey slipped away to the locker room without being seen. Zach was waiting just inside the door. “I did it!” Joey laughed, as he gave his brother a very
high five. “I told you
those skates were magic, didn’t I?” “They certainly were, Zach had to agree. “But if you ask me, you looked like you
had lots of magic yourself.” Joey smiled and handed his brother the goalie
mask. “You better get out on the ice,” he said,
as he unbuckled his pads. “They’re
about to give out the championship cup.” “But you were the one who won it, not me.” “Not really,” said Joey. “You played all year long and made lots of
saves. I
only played this one part of one game. You’d have done it yourself if you hadn’t
been hurt. If people are cheering, they’re cheering for
you.” “No way,” said Zach. “I’ll tell everyone what really happened.” “Go ahead and try,” Joey said with a grin. “Tell them about the magic skates. They’ll never believe you, you know.” He gave his brother a great big hug, then
pushed him out through the locker room door. Before Zach knew it, his teammates came by and hauled him away out to centre ice to the cries of the cheering fans. When Joey outgrew his magic skates he put
them away in a trunk upstairs. After a
while he forgot all about them. Many years later, his mother went up to the
attic and discovered them there. She didn’t suspect they were magic, of course,
so she sent them away to a secondhand store. And I wouldn’t be the least bit
surprised if those skates are still there even now. So, if you go looking for second-hand skates
in a used-skate store, you might just get lucky and buy them yourself. I hope that you do. There are three new
wishes just waiting for you and I’m sure you could easily think of two without
even trying.


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