Who Says Poetry & Hockey Don’t Mix?

It’s a game played on a surface that causes multi-car pileups on highways and with skill that rivals any other professional sport. It’s hockey. Here are three poems about shot-blocking, a shootout, and a line brawl.


Sidney Crosby, the game on his stick

glides forward on the shootout attempt

legs churning to pick up the pace.

The goalie peers ahead

glove high, crouched forward.

Crosby flails his skates

nearly stopping at the net’s mouth.

He stickhandles, hands dancing

the puck left and right

like an unceasing Marine Corps cadence.

With a twitch, he flicks his wrists,

flinging a shot above the flailing goalie’s left shoulder.

His teammates war whoops of delight

are drenched by the goal horn.

Fans scream the soundtrack of a city in awe.

As for Sid,

he skates in a loop behind the net,


chewing on his mouth guard,

attempting to tuck away the half-grin that yanks

at the corners of his mouth.

The goalie has already made it down the runway

his mouth set in a firm line

choking back the curses that are begging to spatter out.

“Line Brawl”

Before the gloves tumble to the ice

a few playground rules must be met—

a slash of the stick to a leg here

a cross-check to the back there,

and an angry snarl on top of it all.

Then it begins.


Opponents collide

grasping fistfuls of the other’s jersey

launching frantic haymakers

until one cracks a jaw

or they both run out of breath.


Referees peel them away from each other

Shoving them into adjoining sin bins.

The combatants glance at their swollen knuckles

peeking up at the scoreboard

wondering if they got any good shots in.

“Slap Shot”

Winding his stick, then cranking it forward

Alex Ovechkin whacks the puck toward an undressed corner of the net.

But home team center Matt Cullen scrambles into the line of fire

surging forward, pinning his legs together

to form a skeletal barricade.

The hurtling disc plunges into his waiting shins,

clattering his bones even through the plastic leg guards.

The puck deflects and skitters harmlessly into neutral ice

as Cullen buckles,

face scrunched, jaw clenched,

teeth gnashing his mouth guard.

He labors toward the bench

hunched over

the bruise already coating his skin with its purple and yellow kiss.

Blocking shots in the NHL requires ruthless sacrifice,

like an infantryman marching toward the mouth of cannon fire.

Cullen groans and leans over at the waist toward the end of the bench

feeling as if shrapnel has dug into his skin.

Players like him are rewarded by a thick paycheck at week’s end

yet there are moments worthy of more than coin

like when his coach leans forward and offers a hurried bit of thanks.

Their tentative lead is guarded by gritted teeth

and battered flesh—

sacrifice that tows success by its clobbered waist.

Editor’s Note: Wonder why sentences are running over into other lines? It’s a poetic device called enjambment. 

Kevin Cochrane is a writer, college student, and founder of Town Crier. Like what you read? Follow him on Twitter at RunFree_KC, friend him on Facebook, or click the follow button at the bottom of the page to get Town Crier’s latest updates. Want to read more? Visit his blog at restandrefuge.wordpress.com which offers a Christian perspective on the surrounding culture. You can contact him with comments or questions at kevincochrane316@yahoo.com.


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