A/N: This is what I wrote for the Fandom for Oklahoma fundraiser. This is also the last outtake that was promised so long ago and the topic of it was voted on by you the readers. Please check my FB group Sweetward's Mistresses to see the wonderful banner made by CullensTwiMistress. It soo good! Love to my ladies that read this: Missy and Mandy and to Jen for her beta magic. She was soo sad to see the end of Hockeyward. ENJOY!
Hall of Memories
EPOV- 12 Years Later
Rod Stewart- Forever Young
And when you finally fly away
I'll be hoping that I served you well
For all the wisdom of a lifetime
No one can ever tell
But whatever road you choose
I'm right behind you, win or lose
Forever young, forever young
The buzz from the crowd could be heard from behind the stage. Nerves fluttered and twisted in my gut so much I worried that my breakfast would reappear. I fiddled with the plastic bottle of water in an effort to occupy my mind and hands.
"Five minutes, gentleman," intoned a stage hand that held a clipboard and walked around with a headset. "You will be entering onto the stage from over there." He pointed to the far corner of the room. His declaration was met a few grunts of acknowledgement.
I wondered around, not sure why I was so nervous. It's not like I wasn't used to the attention or being in front of crowds and cameras. Even the speech that was sitting in the breast pocket of my suit wasn't the cause of my anxiety. Maybe it was the knowledge that my family would be center stage, watching me. But I knew it wasn't that either. Maybe it was the culmination of so much that had gone on in the last ten months of my life, so many new changes that I hadn't had time to process them all.
Life after winning my first Cup over twelve years ago started me down my current path. I stayed with the Wild my entire career. Something that was rather unheard of in hockey circles where players were traded away on a whim. But when it came time to negotiate a new contract, I insisted on a no trade clause. It was only a three year contract, but it was what I wanted.
I won the Cup again with the Wild in my final year with them. After talking with Bella, we decided that I would go out on a high note, instead of being a has-been player who had out-lived his usefulness. It allowed me time to be with my family and kids and to focus on them for a change. Of course, the team offered me a job in the front offices, but I declined. I just wanted to concentrate on being a husband and a father. While I knew Bella understood why I had to gone on the road for games, I always feared Hailey and Kieran struggled with not seeing me.
So, I relished in playing house with my family. Both kids took up an even greater interest in hockey after that first Cup win. I loved the times I could spend teaching them how to skate. Their wobbly legs worked hard to hold them up as they found their balance on the ice. I loved that I could make a small ice rink in our back yard. In my free time, I would be back there teaching them how to start, stop, and go backwards. Even Bella was out there in all her shaky legged glory.
Seeing as Hailey was a tad older than Kieran, she was able to join in team sports first, which was a spot of contention between her and Kieran. I missed most of the time that Hailey was in mites, but retirement started in time for her to move up to squirts. I had wanted to be a coach, but Hailey worried that all the kids would want to talk to me and not play hockey.
She was intense about hockey at such an early age. Not only did she love watching it with me, but she immersed herself in learning all the stats she could. She was a diehard Wild fan and hated to miss even a single game. Instead of going all fan-girl when she met a player, she wanted to discuss stats and strategy. She was my little hockey savant.
That should have been my first clue as to what position Hailey would end up playing. I remember the day she made her thoughts known on the subject like it was yesterday. I was in the lobby waiting for Hailey and Bella to come out of the locker room, while Kieran was off to the side talking to some of his friends. I looked up only to see Bella walking toward me looking a bit harried and a very pissed off Hailey.
Taking the overly large hockey bag from Bella's shoulder, I glanced over at our child. "What's wrong with her?" I wracked my brain for the cause of her distress. It was Hailey's turn at goalie, since the coach would regularly rotate the kids so they could experience each position. For only being nine, she did an amazing job, or the entire game she only let in one goal and that lone goal made her mad. Maybe that was why she looked so grumpy?
"She got upset when the coach told her that this was her last game as goalie." She shook her head and her brown eyes were filled with mirth. "You should have seen her, Edward. She was yelling that they couldn't make her stop and she demanded that she get to play goalie."
I chuckled and glanced over at Hailey. She had her arms crossed in front of her, her adorable face scrunched in a scowl. Dropping the bag, I walked over and bent down to her level. I waited patiently, until Hailey decided to look at me. A few moments later, I was rewarded with her striking green eyes staring impassively at me.
"Care to tell me what's going on?"
Her eyes regarded me, as if she was struggling with the choice of what to say to me. Even though she was only nine, she had away with words that reminded me a lot of Bella.
"They told me that I had to stop playing goalie dad! That's not fair! It's my net. Did you see me today? I only let in one goal!" She took a deep breath and continued on. "No one else has ever done that. They all let in way more goals than me. I'm the bestest." Her lower lip trembled and I fought a smile.
Gathering my wits, I grabbed her hand. "How about this, I'll talk to the coach? I can't promise you anything, but I can talk to the coach and see how he feels about making you the goalie all the time." At my words, her eyes lit up like sparkling emeralds and her face held a wide smile.
"You would do that, Daddy?"
"Of course, munchkin."
"You are the best Daddy ever!" She threw her tiny arms around me and hugged me tight.
"Thanks kiddo. You're pretty sweet yourself."
With that crisis averted, we headed to the nearest McDonald's for some dinner. Later that night in my conversation with the coach, he agreed to let her play goalie full time with the caveat that if another person wanted to give it a go, she had to let them try.
The way she launched herself at me when I told her the good news, made my heart melt. The feeling lasted until the next day when she instated that she needed her own goalie gear and not the borrowed stuff the hockey club owned. For any hockey parent who had spent money on gear, it wasn't cheap to get the normal pads, breezers, skates, sticks, and helmet. But to outfit a goalie was a whole other alien race. Everything they needed was completely different: from the pads, stick, glove, kneepads, chest guard, and helmet.
Hailey raced around the sporting goods store as if she was outfitting herself for war. She had to try on everything and, I mean everything at least once, sometimes even more than that before she found the gear she wanted. The light in her eyes when she was in the backseat on the way home told me that she had found her calling.
There was a common theory in the world of hockey that it took someone slightly off kilter to play goalie. They had their own superstitions- quirks- and way that they saw the world. It made sense. Not many people would willingly throw their body in front of a frozen puck that was flying at you at crazy speeds. So I was a bit mystified that Hailey didn't have any of the weird ticks and twitches one normally associated with goalies. That was until I looked at her with fresh eyes.
Her room was a poster for OCD and anal retentive tendencies. Everything had its place and no one had better move them. Her food could never touch and if there were too many foods of the same color she would refuse to eat. I won't go into detail about her books and movies. Let's just say, I accidently put a movie in the wrong place and got quite the reprimanding. All the cute little idiosyncratic things I found endearing about my little girl were really just goalie quirks in disguise.
But there was no denying that she was born to play goalie. She was a natural between the pipes and it showed. No else on her team wanted to play the position after watching her. It was like she had a weird form of puck ESP, it was that freaky. But if a puck happened to make it in, watch out. She would be pissed.
As she grew older and advanced in the ranks of hockey, her skills only grew with her. In the off season she would attend goalie camps and lived at the gym. Her dedication to the sport never wavered. Bella and I worked hard to make sure she played the game because she loved it, not due to any outside pressure or expectations. Each time we asked, she would give us this exasperated look, roll her eyes, and a sarcastic remark.
So, it was no surprise the amount of attention her playing had gotten in the last ten months or so. Colleges heavily recruited her, and she received more offers than I ever did. So I was a little more than surprised to find her at the kitchen table late one January night looking as if someone had kicked her puppy.
"Hey, what are you doing up so late, munchkin? You got school tomorrow."
She let out a heavy sigh before she looked up at me with troubled eyes. "I know, Dad. I couldn't sleep."
As I sat down in a chair across from her, and spied the papers lying on the table. I couldn't help the chuckle that escaped. She looked up at me and quirked her brow in a way that was eerily familiar.
"There is nothing funny about this, Dad. I have to give my selection tomorrow. I'm nowhere near ready to make a choice." Her voice rose octaves as she talked, ending on a hysterical note.
Reaching over, I clasped her hands that were splayed on the table. I rubbed soothing circles on her skin until I saw her shoulders relax. I kept up the motion as I gathered what I wanted to say to ease her mind.
"I was chuckling because if your Nana Esme could see us, she would tell you how she found me just like this when I was your age." I paused when Hailey rolled her eyes. All her life she has heard that while she looks like Bella, she acted more like me. I shrugged at her. "It's true."
Not wanting to make matters worse, I let go of her hand and leaned back in my chair. "Tell me what's running through your head. What schools are in the running?"
She shuffled through the papers and pushed four sheets closer to me. I glanced down at the ones she picked: Minnesota, Wisconsin, UMD, and Boston College. I whistled at the list she had chosen. She went for the heavy hitters.
"Nice list there. So, what are you confused about? Each of those schools would be a great fit for you. They have great academics as well. From where I am sitting, it's a win-win situation for you."
I watched as several emotions played across her face, the more predominate was fear. Seeing that she was fearful had my nerves frazzled, Hailey had always been a fearless child. Not much ever kept her down. She was a mighty force to be reckoned with. So her struggle with this decision meant there was a deeper issue.
When she hadn't spoken in several minutes, I walked over to here where she sat and started kneading her shoulders. "Talk to me munchkin. I can't help if I don't know what's going on."
With a shuddering breath, she spoke. "I guess I am just a bit scared to be away from you guys. This is, like, the first huge decision I've ever made. What if I pick a school and we suck? I want to win Dad! I want to win a National Championship." She paused for a fraction of a second. "Just like you did."
Most parents would give the "It's not about winning" speech, but this was my daughter and that wasn't going to cut it. I felt pride in her and determination to win. Seeing as she will never win a Stanley Cup, a National Championship was the closest she would ever get. I swiveled her chair so she was facing me.
"You have no control over how the rest of team plays, sweetie. All you can do is play the best that you can. You know that a good goalie can light a fire under their teammates asses. But remember, there is more to life after hockey. Pick a school that is going to let you succeed in life no matter what you do."
She smiled and nodded and I knew in that instance, she was going to be just fine. A few weeks later, Bella and I watched from the stands as she signed her letter of intent with the UMD Bulldogs. Just last month we drove her up to Duluth and got her settled into her dorm room. Her first game was in two weeks and there was no way I was going to miss it.
"Time to line up gentlemen." The stage hand organized us in the order he wanted and ushered us to the curtain. I could hear the NHL Commissioner speaking and when the curtain parted, his words rang loud and clear.
"Ladies and Gentleman, I give you the 2024 US Hockey Hall of Fame Inductees!" The applause was thunderous as we walked up the stage. The bright lights that flooded the stage blinded me for a moment, but when my eyes adjusted, I sought out the only thing I wanted to see. In seconds, I found them sitting in the second row standing on their feet. Bella was wiping tears as Kieran recorded me and Hailey jumped up and down screaming my name. I gave them a wave and they waved back while Bella blew me a kiss.
When the photo ops were done, we took our seats as the ceremony got underway. The commissioner spoke while my mind and gaze drifted to my family. Hailey's smiling face made my smile wider and I gave her a little double wink. It was a sign just for the two of us. She gave me one back and blew me an air kiss. Bella sat next to her, gripping Hailey's hand tightly as she struggled not to cry. But, it was Kieran face that made me appreciate where I was sitting.
While Hailey was the firecracker of the family with her odd ticks, Kieran was the silent type. He was content to sit back and watch everything unfold. He was a lot like his mother in that respect. Even as he was learning to skate and play hockey, he was focused, quiet, and determined. When he fell, he didn't cry, he'd just get back up with a dogged determination and keep going. To be honest, I had thought that maybe he wouldn't have the temperament to play hockey. I mean, there needs to be some passion and fire for the game.
I shouldn't have worried at all. The first time he played organized games, he was a force to be reckoned with. It was an amazing sight. He naturally gravitated toward playing defense, it was where he shined, as could hold back and watch the scene unfold before him. His knack for intercepting a pass or breaking up a rush was incredible.
He was all low key about it. Half the time, I swore the opposing team never even saw him, he was that quiet and unobtrusive on the ice. More than once, in the beginning of his playing, his coaches spoke to me about Kieran becoming more aggressive. They wanted to see him add more pressure and go on the offensive when the chance arose.
I did try to talk to him, but in true Kieran fashion, he would look at me and tell me that he liked hanging back.
"I see it all dad, the whole ice. I see my job as a defenseman as helping out the goalie. No one is going to get by me." That was all there was to it, at least in his mind. So I let him be, it was his style of playing and who was I to tell him it was wrong? He was a sound player and he was right, he hardly got scored on.
When he was in junior high and playing bantams, I finally saw the fire in him. They were in the playoffs and he was playing against the other town bantam team. It was widely regarded that the other team was the better one of the two teams and they were favored to win. We had played them in the regular season and they beat us both times.
In the middle of the second period, we were down by one and Kieran was on the ice. He was charged with providing some extra defensive presence on the other team's top scorer, a little punk by the name of Jake. He had already gotten away with a few interference calls and I could tell that Kieran was pissed. The play was coming into our zone and Kieran was back, watching Jake as he took the puck into the zone.
For a second it looked as if Jake was going to blow right by him, but at the last second, Kieran spun, whipped his stick out and broke up the play. Jake got pissed and checked Kieran, who fell to his knees. I was amazed he kept control of the puck from his knees. He threw the puck across the ice to his defensive partner and he got the puck out of the zone. In fact, it led to a goal.
When the lights went off, signaling the goal, Kieran jumped up and got right into Jake's face. To this day, I still don't know what he said to Jake, but it was enough for Jake to take a swing at him. Kieran, who had been taking karate since he was six, swiped the punch aside and laughed. That caused Jake to shove Kieran and earned him a five minute game misconduct.
I laughed as Kieran waved good-bye to Jake. He then skated to the bench where he went and pumped up his team. When I asked him after the game what he said, he gave me a coy smile. "Simple dad, told them it was time to hurt them while they were down." He shrugged as if it was no big deal, but it was, it was the first time that he had shown something other than his calm persona.
His team must have taken his word to heart. They scored two more times during that power play and it was more than enough for them to win the game. They went on to win the championship that year.
That game must have lit a fire somewhere in my boy. While he didn't go all half-cocked, he did play with a spirit and passion that he rarely showed on the outside. He would get excited when an exceptional play was made and even started to throw a few checks. I was excited to see him elevating his game, as it only made him that much more of a well-rounded player.
Clapping from the audience brought me back from my memories. The first inductee, a coach from the Winnipeg Jets, was up at the podium. I tried to pay attention, but my eyes kept seeking out my family, and I chuckled when I saw Kieran looking at his phone. I would bet anyone a hundred bucks that I knew what pictures he was looking at, again.
He had just entered his junior year of high school and last month they held the first team meeting. He came home that day and when he saw me, screamed like his sister when she sees a spider.
"Dad, oh, my god, you will never fricking believe it!" I watched as he paced from the kitchen table to the fridge and back again. He swigged his water down in several gulps; his eyes were wide and bright. I laughed at the rare sight of excitability he was displaying.
"Are you ever going to clue me in, K?"
He startled as if he forgot that I was there. "Oh, yeah. You know how we had a team meeting today?" I nodded, not wanting to interrupt him. "Well, we picked team leaders and they voted me assistant captain! Can you believe it?"
I clapped him on the back. "Congrats, you deserve it." He blushed just like Bella when getting a compliment.
Just before we left to come to Florida for the induction ceremony, Kieran got asked out by a hockey cheerleader named Becky. She told him she was a huge fan of his and asked to if he would take a picture with her. The day she asked was the day they took team photos, so, he had tons of pictures on his phone not only of the A on his jersey, but of the two of them with his jersey. His smile was a mile wide.
I later found out from Bella that he had been crushing on her since last year. I smirked, thinking he was just like his old man. But on the inside, I was worried that this warranted other sex talk with him. He was looking at Becky like I looked at Bella and it made me all kinds of nervous.
Since the team made him an assistant captain, he took his role seriously. He lets the captain do his job, but doesn't hesitate to step in. Well, now he doesn't hesitate, there was one time where he was rather conflicted. It was a few short weeks into the season and they hadn't gotten off to the best start. He came to find me one day after practice.
"Dad, I just don't know what to do, you know? They goof off in practice, and they don't run the full plays. I swear it was Justin's half assed coverage that allowed the goal to be scored yesterday." Kieran paced the length of the kitchen, his agitation evident on his face. "Kyle either doesn't see it or don't care!" He slammed his hands down on the table and then slumped into a chair.
I let him calm down a bit before I spoke. "What are you going to do about it?" My words were calm, but straightforward.
He looked up at me, his brow scrunched in confusion. "What can I do, dad? They're seniors. I know they are pissed that I got assistant and not them. They won't listen to me."
I lowered myself to his level, and looked him in the eye. "That is your defensive core, Kieran. They are part of your team. Make them listen. You have the ear of the coach. He respects you, otherwise he wouldn't have agreed with the team picking you as part of the leadership. Hell, the team picked you as assistant captain. There was a reason for that."
I watched as he processed my words, digesting them until he could make use of them. His hands rubbed at the wood table. "I'm worried that if I say something to coach that they will think I'm a snitch, dad."
"Kieran what's more important- your team or being labeled a snitch? Because I guarantee, if they cause another loss and you don't speak up, what will the team think then?"
He straightened up in his chair and looked at me, I could see the gears moving and shifting. "You're right, dad. Team comes first."
I nodded at him. "Yes, team comes first." He had heard me pound into him that as a member of the team, there was no room for selfish players or those that don't give their all.
A few days later he told me that he called them out during practice. They had half-assed another play and Kieran, "went off on them" as he said. The coach backed him up and the next game their playing time was going to be limited. When they tried to confront him after practice, the captain and rest of the team backed him up. It was a poignant moment in which he learned the true power of being part of a team.
My trip down memory lane was once more broken by the sound of loud applause. When I focused on my surroundings, I realized that I was going to be next. I rubbed my hands up and down my dress slacks, my nerves were starting to get to me.
"Our last inductee, representing the Minnesota Wild, who is a past winner of both the Selke and Hart Memorial Trophies, Edward Cullen."
The crowd exploded in applause and I watched as my family jumped up and screamed. Tears fell down Bella's face in a river and she didn't even try to wipe them away. I held her gaze, trapped in the look of utter love and devotion we felt for each other. Hailey and Kieran were whooping and taking pictures like mad.
I made my way to the podium and took out the papers that held my speech. I waved to the crowd, so thankful and appreciative that my life led me to this moment. I only wished that my parents could have lived long enough to see this ultimate achievement.
When the clapping had finally died down, I cleared my throat and dived into my speech.
"As a kid from a small town in Washington, I knew the chance I would make it to the NHL was slim. I didn't come from hockey meccas such as Minnesota, Michigan, Boston, or even Europe. But what I did have was the dream and desire to do all I could to make it here.
"My parents instilled in me the value of hard work, dedication, drive, determination, and love of the game. But it wasn't until I made it to Denver that I learned just how much blood, sweat, and grit is needed to make it in this sport. It was there that I learned team comes first." I looked over at Kieran and the pride in his eyes made me pause for a moment to gather my wits.
"Being part of a team is being part of a family. You each have your roles, but you are also there to support and lift your family up. You step in when one falls behind and you carry them until they can contribute. You push each other to do better, try harder, and work together." I couldn't help but look at Bella. All the times she held our family together when I was on road games, was nothing short of amazing. She reminded me that when I was at home, I was still a part of this family and that my kids needed me.
"To the Minnesota Wild and their fans, I owe you my eternal gratitude. You opened your hearts not only to me, but my family. The love and support you have for the team and players is like no other place I have ever played. You made it easy for me to decide that I wanted to stay and play for you, no matter what. I never regretted that decision. I feel honored and privileged that I was able to bring the Cup to Minnesota.
"To my family, there are not enough words to express how I feel. To my kids, Hailey and Kieran, may you always shoot for the stars and follow your dreams. To my lovely wife, Bella, I love you more than words can express. The long days and nights apart were hard, but your support made it bearable.
"I am honored to be inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame. I thank the fans for this honor."
The applause rang out, but I didn't notice, instead I hustled to the side of the stage where I swept Bella in my arms.
"I am so proud of you, babe," she whispered in my ear.
I pulled back and used my thumbs to wipe away her tears. "I meant it, Bella, I would be nothing, this all means nothing without you and the kids."
I pulled her face back in and swept my lips across hers, conveying just how lucky I was to have her in my life. What started as a weird fascination with a boy who played hockey, ended up being a story about love and devotion and how it could change your life.
Hall of Fame- The Script f. will. i. am
You can throw your hands up
You can beat the clock (yeah)
You can move a mountain
You can break rocks
You can be a master
Don't wait for luck
Dedicate yourself and you gon' find yourself
Standing in the hall of fame (yeah)
And the world's gonna know your name (yeah)
'Cause you burn with the brightest flame (yeah)
And the world's gonna know your name (yeah)
And you'll be on the walls of the hall of fame
A/N: Thanks to all who donated! I hope you loved this little glimpse of Daddyward with his kiddos and it was all you had hoped it would be.
For those who are wondering when my next story is going to come, patience, it's in the works. It is title Anything But Mine and I have the first 13 chapters done, but you know me.. I wont post until I have most of it done so I can bring it to you without interruption.
Now... Please.. leave me some love!