The Not So Yellow Kid
FRANK MANN HARRIS
NOW, IF YOU listen to all these second guessers and morning-after master minds, Chester was guilty of a very big boner when he turned the blonde kid loose that time. To sell a man, and sell him to a team that was the joke of the league and not even a good joke at that, right after that man had handed him a championship, looked like plain, cold-turkey ingratitude, to say the least.
Still, if they should ever start hanging guys for ingratitude in this hockey racket, it will be boom days in the rope trade; and if it had been nothing worse than that, the chances are that Chester would have kept on getting by as usual. But when that same kid steps out, the very next year, and carries that joke team to a title practically single-handed, it made it as plain to be seen as tomato soup on a boiled shirt that as a big-time manager Chester was nine degrees below zero. So when the Big Boss calls him into the office at the end of last season and ties the old tinware to him, all the experts very naturally informed their dear publics that the one big reason for the canning was Chester's awful dumbness in letting such a star get away from him.
So now I will tell just how it actually came about; and if it is a bit different from the way the scribes printed it—well, you can believe them or you can believe me, I do not care which. But if anybody is in a position to know, it should be me, because even if the trainer for a hockey team does not collect much of anything outside of a strong stink of rubbing oil on his clothes and a lot of assorted abuse from everybody and his brother, he surely is in a spot to get the inside dirt on everything which comes off. But before I go any farther I would wish to state very plain that I am not waving any banners on behalf of Mike Chester, who I consider does not rate any higher than a very large heel on any man’s set of figures.
Now, of course, two years is a very long stretch of time for anybody to try and remember back and especially in hockey, but maybe you might recall that the old Moguls team was b\ no means such an outfit as would be liable to make this Sii Malcolm Campbell do very much tossing in his quilts worrying over his speed records. You see, Manager Chester had a very strong belief, which he would admit if you asked him or even if you didn’t, that the one greatest star of all time had been a guy by the name of Mike Chester, who in his playing days had been nothing like a fireball for swiftness, but who was a very rough and tough baby indeed, either coming, going or standing still.
And with such a bright and shining mark ever in his mind to shoot at, Chester always picked players for his team that were as much like he had been himself as he could find—with the result that if they paid off on nothing except speed, the Moguls would have been complete paupers and candidates for the soup line.
But even if not a single one of the boys could have beat old Charley-horse himself in a straightaway dash, do not get the idea that those old Moguls were even a tiny part of a soft touch for any team that ever thumbed a snoot behind a referee’s back, because any guy that ever played against them will inform you different. For they could not only dish it out; they could take it too, and like it, and they knew all the answers in the book; and year after year they were knocking at the door, either up there or thereabouts, and no club that ever topped them had to call up the pajiers next morning to find out if there had been a hockey game the night previous.
Now, while this team suited Chester very well—or anyway as well as anything ever could suit such a crab--and was
respected if not loved in all the rinks from Chicago to Boston and points between, the members were not such a huge hit with the Big Boss, who was a hockey man only in such time he could spare from being financial. The chief worry of the Big Boss was B. O., and by this I do not mean whatever it is that the soap and perfumery people warn folks about so much, but just plain Box Office. A team might have a permanent toehold on all the championships there are, but if they did not pack the old joint clear to the lightning rods every time out they could not count as a success with him.
And I got to admit that as crowd pleasers those old Moguls were not so awful warm, either at home or away. It was like what this Bob McWilliams, the newspaper guy, once writes
in a sensible moment: “The trouble with the Moguls seems to be that they insist on playing Stanley Cup hockey seven months in the year.” For, of course, you understand that the stuff that is fed to the customers in the regular season is often a great deal different from what is played when the big dough is on the line —or am I telling you something?
So while the ball bearings on the turnstiles were seldom ever burning, the Big Boss was continually. Likewise he was everlastingly prodding at Mike Chester to get busy and do something about it.
"Great gobs of tar! Whatever does the old Shylock want?” Chester says to me one day after a long session in the front office. “The team wins seven out of the last nine, five of them on the road at that, and still he ain’t satisfied.”
“I hear how he claims that what we need is more color,” I says.
“Color,” Mike snorts, very disgusted. “All I ever hear from morning to night is color, color, color. If that is what
they want, why don’t they go to a hardware store? I am a hockey manager, not a house painter. Why, the old billygoat even has the nerve to throw up the Frenchmen to me as a team with plenty of color. The Frenchmen, that we beat six to nothing without even raising a healthy sweat.”
“Just the same,” I says, “those Frenchmen have had a sell-out their last three home games.”
“You’re telling me?” Chester says. “I swear Ï can’t figure out what folks expect off of a hockey team these days.”
“No matter whether they want card tricks or the man on the flying trapeze,” I says, “the thing to do is give them what they ask for. They pay the dough and the dough pays the salaries.”
“Fatty, you make me sick,” Mike growls. “You and the Big Boss both. But I got to do something soon, just to shut him up for a while.”
“Well,” I says, “of course it isn’t any of my business, but what with the play-offs not so awful far away and this and
that, maybe a little fresh talent would be a help. Some of the boys are getting so creaky at the joints that they soak up my liniment like a sponge, and an extra forward or so would give them a chance to rest up the old hinges a little.”
“Brains like you got are certainly wasted around a rubbing table,” Chester sneers. “Maybe you can tell me where we would be likely to get any forwards worth the powder to blow them to aitch at this time of year.”
"Why,” I reply, “my brother Corney writes me from W indsor that they have a lad by the name of Carruthers who is about ripe for fast company. Corney says that if we snare him now we can probably get him for half what he will cost at the end of the season, because the Yankees have already been giving him the once-over.”
“You know that I got no time to waste looking over any high-grass wonders,” Mike says, "and what you are after probably is a whack at some of that Detroit brew; but— well—lemme see. . . ”
And after considerable hemming and hawing and this and that, the upshot is that I am to go and have a look at this lad, with the idea that if I think he has the stuff, to grab him. For no matter how he talked about my brains, Chester knew that I could spot a coming hockey prospect about as far back as any man.
T ONLY HAVE to take one look at this Carruthers -*• to know that he is the answer to a smart manager’s prayers. Although still a bit green, class sticks out all over him, so I buy him and fetch him along back with me.
"Don’t let those Mogul lugs ride the boy too hard,” my brother Corney tells me before we leave. “He comes from a good family, and is sort of sensitive and not much used to the rough kidding; and if that big baboon of a Mike Chester starts handling him like he would those dock wallopers he is accus. tomed to, he is liable to be spoiling the sweetest piece of hockey stuff I have run a hand over this many’s the year.”
I have a long talk with the kid on our way back, and the more I see of him, the better I like him. Though happy and excited over joining up with a big shot outfit, he is quiet and polite and speaks veryrefined at all times and listens respectful to all the good advice I give him; so that, while I have no doubt about him making good on the ice, I can’t help from wondering how he will fit in with that Moguls gang, and, especially, what Chester is going to think of him.
But I do not have to wonder long about this last. As soon as we get to the arena I take the boy into Mike Chester’s little room, where we find Mike in a worse temper than usual, which is saying something, he having just come from listening to another panning about the large acreage of empty seats the night before.
“Well,” Mike grunts, “what do you want?”
“This is Tom Carruthers,” I says. “You know— the lad from Windsor.”
Mike slowly looks him over from his shoes to his scalp lock and then back again. The kid is nearly six feet high, and built on the greyhound pattern that makes him appear even slimmer than he really is. He is dressed very smooth, and his blonde hair is slicked back like it had been starched and ironed.
"I guess,” Mike says, “you must have made some mistake. The ribbon counter is on the next floor.”
I can see the deep pink start crawling out of the boy’s collar and his hands acting as if they are itching to turn into fists; but he bites his lips and swallows the words that are in his throat, and then smiles very pleasant and says:
"I’m certainly proud to meet you, Mr.
Chester, after hearing and reading about you so much for years.”
It was done so nicely and politely that anybody else but Mike Chester couldn’t have helped warming up to the kid; but that sour ape was the kind that always thinks politeness and weakness are twins.
“Is that so !” he growls. “Well, maybe you have heard about me, but who the íieck ever heard tell of you? And you think you are a hockey player, do you?”
“I wouldn’t say exactly that,” the kid says, still holding himself in, “but I have hopes of being one some of these days.”
“I would hate to be hanging by the neck till then,” Mike says with a sneer. “Practice at ten-thirty in the morning. Now, get out. I want to talk to Fatty.”
Young Carruthers goes out and Mike starts to work on me. “A fine-looking piece of cake to bring around here,” he says. “How much did you and your brother Corney cut up between you on the—”
“Mike Chester,” I interrupt him, “if that is meant for kidding, well and good, although a very little of it will be plenty. But if so be you are speaking serious, would you
mind coming out and saying it where we can discuss the matter without that desk in the way to bother us?”
I kx)k him hard in the eyes for a minute, but he says nothing, so 1 turn on my heel and leave him. The only time Mike and I ever tangled in earnest he licked me; but only after such a battle that he had never hinted at wanting to play an encore.
/CARRUTHERS is waiting for me outside, pretty sore at such a reception and no wonder; but I tell him that this is just Mike’s regular manner and don't mean a thing, and I get him cooled out after a while. And by next morning be has forgotten all about it entirely. He sits there in the d essing-room, putting on his gear for the practice, and he is feeling so with life in general that he is singing and whistling away like he does not have a care or worry in the world.
And then, right off the bat, lie has to go and put his foot in it a mile deep. I íe commences his career with the Moguls by insulting Mrs. Chester, Mike’s bitter half.
Now it is against all my principles ever to say anything uncomplimentary about the ladies, but with all respect to the sex, Mrs. Mike is nothing more nor less than a public pest. They say that a woman’s place is in the home, but I would hate to see one like her in any home of mine. A very determined lady, she has Mike tight under her thumb, and sometimes I think that a lot of his crabbedness is just his way of handing on what she dishes out to him. She considers that she runs the Moguls, and is liable to appear at practice sessions and other inconvenient times, cracking the whip over poor Mike for all to see, and chipping in with her two cents worth of opinions on all subjects, and expecting to be treated by one and all like she is the Queen of Sheba out on a slumming trip. The boys all love her, They love her so much that their pet name for her is Prussic Acid.
But I have not told you the most important item about her, which is that she is very large and hefty, and terrible sensitive about same. She is built like an airplane hangar and about ten times around her would be a morning’s exercise; but heaven help the man who so much as hints, either by word or look, that she is an inch over frying size. And as luck will have it, she has just made her appearance at the rink and has stopped to condescend a kind word to me, when the Carruthers kid comes busting out of the dressing-room alleyway, rarin’ for action and singing in a loud baritone voice that you can hear a block. And the song he is singing is nothing else but that beautiful anthem, “When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain.”
Naturally enough, touchy like she is and ever looking for insults, the Kate Smith allusion goes right smack home to Mrs. Mike. She turns a shade to match the purple dress she is wearing, and gives the singer a look that will fry eggs.
“And who might that long-shanked, yellow-headed brat be?” she demands of me.
“Oh, him,” I says, letting on like I have not noticed anything. “That is just young Carruthers, the boy out of Windsor Mike is giving a trial.”
“The fresh busher,” Mrs. Mike says. “I am thinking that his days with this club will be short.”
I start in to say something and then decide to save it, for there are some things that the more you try to explain them the worse you make them. This seems to be one of them.
So there you have the kid starting off with the manager prejudiced against him just on general principles and cussedness, and the manager’s wife hostile on personal grounds. If this is not enough, it is not a week before he has practically every guy on the team sharpening a knife for his benefit. A veteran club, with most of the boys slowing down and knowing it will not be long before they pass out of the picture, is no soft spot for any recruit to break in; and this Carruthers is such a player as will make most any team look even slower than they are. But I do not need to tell you how I he Big Boss. good he is, as everybody
in the world knows that now and it is all in the record books.
The first game he plays for us he scores two goals and does it in a style that catches the eye of every fan in the place, especially those that wear skirts. From the very first he goes over with the soprano section in a huge way, and before a fortnight is out, whenever a game gets a bit tame you can hear them hollering from all parts of the house, “We want Blondie”—which is the name that is tacked on to him by somebody. Macey, in his column on The News sport page, writes, “Carruthers, among all those Mogul Methusaleers,
Continued, on page 32
Not So Yellow Kid
Continued Jrotn page 11 —Starts on page 10
looks just like a streamline model in a fleet of dump trucks,” and there is a lot more like that in the papers—which is swell advertising for the kid but makes no great hit with the old-timers on the squad. So in spite of steadily increasing attendance, the only one who is happy is the Big Boss, who is seen to smile for the first time since the day a shoeshiner slips him a dime too much in his change.
Carruthers is plainly worried to know what it is all about. He is a likeable lad and wants very much to .be friends with everybody; but the chills that are played for him all over the place have him puzzled. There he is, working his head off and doing pretty good ; and yet the best he gets for it is “Horseshoes, you lucky stiff,” when he scores a goal, or else “Wassa matter, are you scared to step into him?” when he takes the puck away from anybody with a snappy poke-check instead of using the body.
Then the boys start giving him the business, which there are plenty of ways of doing in this game. Passes either from him or to him go astray instead of clicking. If he goes down on a combined rush, the other guys are always making him go over the blue line offside. Instead of using him on a regular line, where he can learn to fit in with the others, Mike Chester mostly keeps him for stalling for time when we are playing shorthanded, and so not giving him much chance to do any scoring, although he gets his share in spite of that. And on top of all, Mike is eternally riding him for not mucking in and body-checking, which he is not fitted for, having still his full man’s weight to put on and being too much of a speedball to need that stuff anyway.
“Why don’t you leave the kid be?” I ask Mike one night after a game, when he is growling away like a bear with neuralgia. "Doesn’t he just win another game for ye, and still you are hollering at him?”
“Look at him,” Mike replies, pointing. “Just look at him—as slick as if he just came out of a bandbox and not even puffing. Is that the way, I ask you, for a man to be coming off the ice after a hard game?”
“I seen Benny Leonard fight fifteen tough rounds one time, and when it was over there wasn’t a hair on his head out of place,” I says. “Yet nobody ever complained there was anything wrong with him.”
But Mike, hating the clean, speedy style like poison anyway, and with Mrs. Mike, I suspect, keeping the grouch ever warm, has a down on Carruthers that nothing can change. Every move he makes is criticized, and Mike is continually hinting about either shipping him back to the sticks, or else selling him to the Canaries, which is an even worse threat. And, taking their cue from Mike, who openly declares that the kid is short of ticker, the boys take to calling him “Yellow-head.” From that it is an easy jump to shorten it down to “Yellow,” which is no nice label to have pasted on you even in fun.
“What can I do about it?” the boy asks me when we are alone one day. “There isn’t much use in attempting to lick them all, one after another, although I’d be willing to try if I thought it would do any good.” “Never you heed them, son,” I tell him. “Mike is suffering from absence of brains and family complaints, and what ails the rest of the boys are old age and jealousy. You will be making the headlines in big type when they are long forgotten, and they know it and resent it. So tend to your knitting and never give it a thought.”
THE WEEKS slip by and it comes along time for the play-offs, and all the talk is of what our chances are for the big money. We are all pretty confident that this is our year, and after we knock off the Frenchmen in the first round we are still more so. All we have to do is get past the Buzzards, who have showed signs of slipping for the past month, and then take on either the Pinks or the Bearcats for the silverware. And as both of them have been pushovers for us all year, we figure we are sitting very handsome.
“What do you think of it, Fatty?” Chester asks before the first Buzzard game, which is on our own rink.
“What would I think of it?” I says. “It is in the sack. We will beat them three or four goals here and then hold them closer on their ice, and that will be all there is to it.”
“Some of their supporters think different,” he says. “They are offering as good as three to two that they win the round.” “Don’t I know it,” I says. “Fools and their money make soft prices. I have already bet all I got they are wrong, and if I had any more it would ride the same way.”
So Mike sends out and bets five hundred on the Moguls, which is a healthy wager for any man, but especially so for him, he having to account for all his dough to Mrs. Mike.
Like I said, I figured we could top those Buzzards by anyway three goals here; but anybody can make a mistake, even a trainer. At the end of sixty minutes of very Scotch hockey neither side has put a puck behind a goal-minder, and we are faced with the prospect of playing them on their ice without any sort of lead to lean back on.
Mike, thinking of his money, is fit to be tied, raving at everybody in general and at young Carruthers most particular. It is a shame to do so, because the Buzzards have kept a couple of men draped around the kid every move he has made, and in spite of that he has played swell hockey and just missed tallying a couple by the rawest kind of luck. But you would never suspect this to listen to Mike Chester.
“Just can’t take it,” he snarls at the kid. “Afraid to step into anybody and get that permanent wave spoiled, I guess. A sorry day it is for the old game when sissies like you can pose as players; but, thank heaven, after this you will do your posing somewhere else. Luke Rattrey of the Canaries has offered me a set of old goal-nets for you and, may I be forgiven for swindling, after tonight’s display I am going to close the deal.” Now I found out afterward that all this stuff about selling the kid was a very big lie. Thick-skulled though he was, Mike had no intention of letting him go. But this was Mike’s idea of the proper way to get the best out of a man—to insult him until he is mad enough to go out and commit murder.
T SUPPOSE they will be talking about that second Buzzards game long after the most of us are under the turf and forgotten. Not that it was so very spectacular, as it was just plain leather-vest hockey with both teams playing it safe and waiting for the breaks. But on account of its length it will be remembered, for in all big-league history there was only one other battle that went longer. In the second period the Buzzards get one goal that looks as big as a national debt; but with only about eight minutes to play, Carruthers goes down, with Red Malone trailing him, beats their defense clean and draws the goal-minder out, and then slips Red a pass that not even Blind Ned could miss smacking home. So when the gong rings we are all knotted up, and have to go into the overtime and play it out if it takes till July.
From that point on, that game even now does not seem real to me. It is like something you would remember out of a nightmare, with play going on for years and years, with the boys out there getting wearier and wearier, out on their feet and staggering to keep upright, but always keeping on trying, and the crowd pretty nearly as tired as the players from constant cheering. Neither side dares to open up and take a chance as one goal will settle it, and it settles down to an endurance contest which will either be ended by a lucky break or else, more probably, through one team simply outlasting the other and staying upright when the others have fallen down.
And as the game goes on and on, you don’t need to be much of an expert to see that if it is going to be settled by staying power, the Moguls are out of luck. The extra years most of our boys arfe carrying are beginning to tell, slowly butiurely, and by the time they have gone an hour extra, outside of Carruthers we have hardly a man that can get out of a walk. It looks bad for us and no fooling; and Mike Chester, who has worn his britches thin sliding up and down the bench all night, is fairly frothing at the mouth as he sees his precious five hundred bucks taking wings and preparing to fly.
Any time the kid is on the ice the Buzzards pay him most particular attention, and it is a wonder he does not break into a million small pieces, the way they bounce him around. But he keeps on boring in, coming back for more no matter how hard they slough him, until even the home-town rooters have to give him a hand every time he picks himself up off the ice.
And then there comes a time when he goes down in a jam with three Buzzards spilled on top of him, and this time he does not get up, grinning as usual, but lays there.
“He is hurt,” I say, starting to climb out on the ice to go to him.
“Hurt nothing,” Mike says. “He is just laying there to get some more kind applause, the grandstander. Wait a minute, Fatty.” And in a few seconds the kid gets up and skates over toward our bench. I ask him what is wrong, but he just shakes his head sort of dazed-like. I tell him to go to the room, and am just about to follow and look him over when Mike grabs me. Some dizzy fan has just thrown a bunch of tom-up paper on the ice and the game is held up while they clean it off.
“Slip over to the Buzzards’ bench and tell Jack Kelly I want to see him in our room,” Mike whispers to me. “Hustle now.”
T GIVE KELLY the message and he gets up and walks down the alleyway, followed by Mike. I wait a couple of minutes and then follow them, but before I get to the room I meet young Carruthers coming toward the ice. He is white as a sheet, and there is a look on his face I have never seen there before.
“Are you hurt bad?” I ask him.
“No,” he says, “nothing but my stocking cut a bit.” He goes and sits on the bench.
Kelly and Mike Chester appear again. The ice is finally cleaned and the struggle commences again.
And then comes what looks like the break of the game. Red Malone and Swede Yensen get a Buzzard forward in between them over by the fence and, like fools, one of them gives him a butt-end and the other slashes him across the face, with the referee standing so close that even he cannot miss seeing it. He waves the two of them to the mourners’ bench, and there we are left with four men to try and stand off six.
Chester turns to the kid.
“Get out there, Yellow,” he says, “and see if you can run away and hide on them for a couple of minutes.”
And Carruthers goes over to where play has been called, not with his usual easy stride but sort of propping himself on one skate and pushing along with the other.
Everybody in that packed rink is standing as they line up for the face-off. Five of the Buzzards are there, waiting to put on the ganging act as soon as they can get hold of the puck. Back of our blue line stand our two defense men, w'hile up there in front Carruthers stands by himself, looking mighty lonesome.
The referee blow's his whistle and drops the puck. The kid beats the opposing centre to the draw and starts back toward our goal w'ith the rubber as if to kill as much time as possible. The Buzzards chase after him, anxious to get hold of that puck and get it over with as soon as they can.
All of a sudden Carruthers wheels toward the other goal. His move is so unexpected that he gets past the Buzzard forwards before they realize it; but they do not have to worry as the defense pair is back laying for him. Skating pretty slow, the kid gets near them, making no attempt to swerve around them but aiming dead in betw'een. You can see the two of them getting set to sandwich him so hard his teeth will rattle; although even then they are doubtless expecting to see him turn the other way.
And then, before they know what he is about, he is beyond the two of them. With the prettiest shift I have ever seen, he has knifed right in betw'een them, and is in there w'ith nobody but the goal-minder to beat. And he beats him with an ankle-high shot to the comer that seems to leave a trail of smoke in the air. It is a million-dollar play and it w'ins the game for us.
The red light over the goal flashes on; at least I suppose it does, though I do not see it. My eyes are on the kid, who has flopped down right after the shot like a peck of wet fishnets. I do not waste any time in getting to him, but when I pick him up there is a pool of red on the ice the size of a stove-lid.
T CARRY HIM through the jam into the
room and set him on a bench, and all our team gather round while I cut the stocking off. They are naturally pretty excited over the finish to the game, but when they see what appears when the leg is bared, a silence falls that you could stick a fork into. I am fairly hard-boiled myself, and in thirty years I have seen some nasty-looking injuries; but never, before or since, have I looked at such an ugly-looking gash, nor do I ever want to see another like it. How he had ever stood, let alone skate, on such a leg will be a mystery to me if I live to be a thousand. I can hear the boys sucking air through their teeth as they look at it.
“And that,” Red Malone says in a small voice, “is the kid we have been saying couldn’t take it.”
The dressing room door busts open and in breezes Mike Chester, who has been delayed by telling the crowd outside how he had engineered the victory. He is wearing a grin from ear to ear and his chin is out like a pigeon’s. A good, game winner, Mike, if ever there was one.
"That’s the way to go, gang,” he booms. “Now where is that Blondie kid. Lead me to him because I want to give him a great big hug.”
I have got the bleeding stopped now, and have sent for the doctor, so I throw a towel over the kid’s leg. The gang that surrounds us opens up and lets Mike through.
“Well, well, well,” Mike says, pounding him on the back, “if here isn’t the goal-getting kid himself, in person. Blondie, you are there forty ways. Did I say I was going to sell you to the Canaries? Kid, I wouldn’t sell you for all the dough in the—”
Just then I lift the towel so that Mike can see what is underneath. His eyes almost pop out of his head.
“That,” I says to him, “is what this kid scored the winning goal for you on. Now get out of the way and let the doctor sew him up.”
Mike turns away, but before he can go the kid’s voice stops him.
"Just a minute, Chester,” he says. Then he beckons to the boys to come closer. “Come here, you fellows, because there is something I want to tell you about our manager.”
The boys stare in astonishment and I wonder myself what is coming off.
“After I get this cut,” the kid says, “I come in here and stick my leg under the shower for a minute as I do not want to be taken out of the game till it is over. And while I am in there, Chester comes in with Jack Kelly. They do not notice me, so I hear what they are saying. And Chester, the great big game he-man, is proposition-
ing Kelly to call the game off and toss up a coin to decide who wins it. Even if the toss goes against us, all bets will be called off— which is all he is worrying about. Kelly turns him down cold, of course, but I just thought you would like to know about it.
“Chester,” the kid addresses Mike, who stands there speechless, “maybe you were kidding when you talked about selling me; but whether or not, get busy and do it now, because I have played my last game for the Moguls.”
So that is how the Canaries came to get the best forward :n the business today, and also how Mike Chester lost out with the Moguls. And while I guess it was a pretty bitter dose for Mike when the Big Boss told him he was out, l will bet that even that did not sting as much as the last thing the kid said to him that night in the dressing room, waiting for the doctor to stitch him up.
“There isn’t enough money ever printed,” the kid said, "to pay me to play any more hockey for a man as yellow as you are.”