I’ve been a die-hard hockey fan since I was little, the latest in a long family line of hockey fans. Clarkson University, the home of the Golden Knights, is in my hometown. They are a NCAA, Division I team that has always been prime recruiting ground for the NHL. Hockey is life in northern New York, at every level!
Some of my best memories are of going to games with my friends and family. My parents and grandparents had season tickets in the same section at the old Walker Arena. Every home game, we were there, right up against the glass. I got hit in the face with a puck at my very first hockey game, and somehow that just fueled the fire.
My grandmother was a classy lady who didn’t own a pair of pants and never left the house without a full face of perfectly applied makeup. She didn’t even go grocery shopping or to a game without heels. But when she watched hockey, she lost her mind. She yelled and chirped with the best of them! My poor grandfather took the brunt of her excitement, alternating his seat on one side or the other of her from night to night. That gave his thighs a chance to heal after my grandmother pounded on them in her zeal. I learned from the best.
Later, Clarkson built a new arena, bigger and fancier. My dad began selling booster tickets, and everyone knew who he was. By day, the well-respected lawyer. By night, the guy with the weird hats who blew ticket sales away. Sometimes, he dragged one of his sons or grandsons into it, too. After he died four years ago, I’ve had so many people tell me how the games aren’t the same anymore. He was a part of hockey history in his own way. This is my dad, far from his pinstripe suits! And another of him and my eldest, and him and my youngest brother.
See? I come by my hockey obsession naturally!
And now it’s playoff season. I’m the lone girl in my house and usually the lone person watching hockey!! My team, the New York Rangers, didn’t make the playoffs, but that didn’t stop me from being glued to the TV. My second team is the Vegas Golden Knights. How could I not follow them after the Clarkson Golden Knights began it all for me? They’re out now, so I’ve moved to a new team to cheer for, at least for the playoffs, the Dallas Stars. Mostly because one of my favorite Rangers was traded to them earlier in the season, Mats Zuccarello. I’m still in mourning…
I love hockey. I love the game, the excitement, the rush of watching the puck slapped down the ice. Yes, I even love the fights. For me, watching hockey is an aerobic activity, as well as an exercise in creative word choice! I love everything about it! I love the chirping, too, the insults. As a writer, I can appreciate the creativity of some of them! And the sportscasters… sometimes I think they come up with colorful descriptions just to see if listeners are paying attention. One of my favorites is when there is a big fight, and they announce that the players involved are “having a conversation.” Understatement much?!
I guess it was only a matter of time before I wrote about hockey. In this case, beer league hockey. Hockey that is frequently more about friendship and the love of the game, rather than actually winning. The best parts of it, right?
Last Call is loosely based on my homeland in the northern, hockey-obsessed wilds of New York. Sparrow comes from a long line of hockey greats. Both her dad and grandfather played in the NHL, and one of her brothers just got traded to his second team. And she is no slouch on the ice herself. After all, not all great hockey players have to be guys! Then Nyx comes into town, fresh out of the Army and a new town cop. He’s also a damn good goalie. Too bad he’s also an arrogant (but gorgeous) pain in the ass. But as Sparrow gets to know him, even when they clash (which they definitely do), she discovers that maybe there’s a reason he’s so prickly.
Last Call is a story about love and romance, but it’s also about friendship and trust and second chances to get it right.
Last Call is available now on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, and Kobo!
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