Wingman On Ice


By Matt Christopher

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Tod is sure his new hockey stick will improve his game. But when his team loses, he realizes that good stickhandling needs practice as well as good equipment. He vows not to use the stick until he deserves it, but will he earn that right this season?



All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Little, Brown and Company

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First eBook Edition: December 2009

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

Matt Christopher® is a registered trademark of Matt Christopher Royalties, Inc.

ISBN: 978-0-316-09612-6


Brenda, Bruce, Barbara,

Beverly, and Bradley

Bantam Hockey League Roster of the White Knights

Buck Fillis Coach

Line 1

1 Jim Smith goalie
2 Ed Jones right forward
3 Larry Thomas left forward
4 Joe Farmer center
5 Al Burns right defense
6 Duck Franks left defense
7 Andy Marr substitute

Line 2

8 Tim Collins goalie
9 Tod Baker right forward
10 Jim Wright left forward
11 Skip Haddock center
12 Biff Jones right defense
13 Snowball Harry Carr left defense
14 Bud Wooley substitute

Line 3

15 Joe Easter goalie
16 Tom Cash right forward
17 Bert Stevens left forward
18 Adam Wink center
19 Mickey Share right defense
20 Tony Nadali left defense
21 Mark Malone substitute


A stick slapped the puck hard, and the flat, rubber disk shot across the ice like a black dot. It struck the boards, bounced off, and Tod Baker stopped it with the blade of his hockey stick.

He hardly looked up as he dug his right skate into the ice and pushed himself forward. With both hands on the stick he started to dribble the puck down the ice. He shifted the stick blade from one side of the puck to the other, easing it gently each time.

A player rushed at him from his left side. Quickly, Tod picked up speed.

Then it happened. He struck the puck harder than he should have, and it shot too far to his right. Desperately, he sped after it. But another skater hooked it with his stick and dribbled it away.

"Why didn't you pass it?" a voice snapped near his elbow.

Tod looked around and saw Skip Haddock glaring at him. Skip was center for the White Knights. He was tall and willowy and handled a hockey stick as if he had been born with one in his hand.

"I'm sorry," murmured Tod.

Another voice cut in sharply. "Quit talking there and let's get after that puck!"

It was Buck Fillis, the coach. He was on skates, a tall man wearing a hat and a heavy blue and white sweater. A whistle dangled on a cord around his neck.

This was a scrimmage game among themselves. Next Saturday morning the White Knights were going to scrimmage the Trojans. The regular Bantam League games started the Saturday after that.

Coach Fillis had picked two squads, A and B, to play against each other this Saturday morning. The A squad wore white jerseys over their sweaters to distinguish them from the B's. Tod was on the A squad, playing right forward.

In the Bantam Hockey League, the teams were composed of three lines each. Each line had its own forwards, defensemen, and goalie.

But today Coach Fillis did not group his team into lines. Some kids were a little older than others, so he had selected two squads to let the younger boys play on the same squads as the older ones. In this way the squads were evenly matched, and every player could practice and learn to play better hockey.

Tod was glad that Coach Fillis had his White Knights team work out that way. A younger player could learn a lot by playing along with an older player.

The B squad got the puck past the red line that crossed the middle of the ice. "Snowball" Harry Carr stole it and snapped it back. Another B player shot up behind him and stopped it with his skate. He kicked it forward, then slapped it with his stick.

Tod and Skip came charging up the ice together. For a moment the puck was free. Then a B squad player went after it. Skip gave him a body check, and the player lost his balance and fell. Skip always did this when he had a chance. Tod thought that Skip just enjoyed bodychecking, even if he didn't always do it legally.

Skip stopped dead, ice chips spraying from his skates. Another opponent was approaching fast. Skip passed the puck to Tod. Tod stopped it and looked around. An A player was down near the boards. Tod smacked the puck to him. The player caught it with the blade of his stick and started with it across the other team's blue line.

Tod sped down center ice. It was clear sailing ahead. If he got the puck, he might be able to smack it past the goalie.

"Here! Pass it here!" he shouted.

The puck skittered across the ice toward him. It was a good pass. He tried to stop it with the heel of his stick. But the puck struck the stick and glanced off. Disgustedly, Tod turned and went after it, his skates cutting short, curved grooves in the ice.

Skip Haddock reached the puck first. He dribbled it at an angle in front of the goal. Tod could see the goalie crouched in front of the net, trying to keep himself between it and Skip.

Then, just as Skip glided past the net, he snapped the puck. Like a bullet it shot between the goalie and the side of the net.


Buck Fillis blew the whistle. "Nice shot, Skip!" he said as he came skating down the ice. "But, you, Tod—you should have stopped that puck and gone for the goal yourself. You're not holding that blade flat on the ice. Bend it in a little toward the puck when trying to stop it, and then ease it away from the puck when they meet. That small rubber beast can get away from you in a hurry if you don't treat it just right."

Tod nodded.

"You're not stickhandling right, either," the coach went on. "You're not supposed to hit the puck—just push it. Treat it as if it were a raw egg."

Snowball laughed. "Good thing it isn't, Coach," he said. "This rink would be a mess!"

The boys laughed. Even Tod had to grin.


On Sale
Sep 1, 1993
Page Count
126 pages

Matt Christopher

About the Author

Matt Christopher is the best-selling name behind more than 100 sports-themed books for young readers.

Learn more about this author