THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
(with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the Bell
the ghosts were free-wheeling, and weaving their spell;
From Rocket to Boom-Boom, to Harvey to Toe,
the puck smacked and flew in the rink's ghostly glow;
In one net the Gumper, at the other end Plante;
While fans roared their approval, a phantom descant;
And Dick in his civvies still perched on the bench;
Had just finished dressing down Newsy in French,
When out on the ice there arose such a clatter,
Turned out it was Fergie, as mad as a hatter
Tom Johnson had taken him down with a slash,
But Red Storey jumped in with a laugh in a flash.
The dim light shone dull on the banners above
while the players encouraged with slapping of glove,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But Howie Morenz, still in brown leather gear.
With a little old partner, so lively and quick,
I knew 'twas Aurele by the cut of his stick.
More rapid than eagles these heroes they came,
And Dick whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Rocket! now, Georges! now, Odie, Lalonde!
On, Boomer! on Phantom! on, Hall and Laronde!
To the top of the crease! To the back of the net!
I heard him cry "Go, boys, we're not finished yet!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So back down the ice those bold spirits they flew,
With the puck on their sticks, and the crowd roaring too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard down below
"Wrap it up soon, just an hour to go."
As I gazed down the rink, and was turning around,
Down the wing the great Rocket came with a bound.
He was dressed all in red, from his shirt to his socks,
And he fake-passed to Fergie, just out of the box;
A pair of defencemen he'd flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler still hauling his pack.
His eyes -- how they burned! His teeth, they did clench!
While cries of encouragement roared from the bench!
He drew his stick back as he wound up to shoot,
To the net the puck traced its unstoppable route
A moment of silence, as rubber hit twine
Then the cheers of the faithful and praise from his line;
He had a broad smile and a quick little wink,
For a fan who grinned back; an ephemeral link.
He was glowing and proud; a right magnetic sight,
And I shouted out loud in a burst of delight;
A flash of his teeth and a nod of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And gathered his teammates; then turned with a jerk,
And as the dim glowing ghostlight started to fade,
I saw no mark left of the game they had played;
The Rocket was going, the rest were no more
All was as quiet as it had been before.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he melted from sight,
"We'll bring the Cup back. It'll all be alright."