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Power Play

by Michele Martin Bossley

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violence, emotions & feelings, peer pressure
list price: $8.99
also available: Paperback Hardcover Paperback
published: 2012
imprint: Lorimer
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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
9 to 13
4 to 8
Reading age:
7 to 10
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When Zach Thomas broke his wrist going into the boards early in the hockey season, he thought he was done for the year. But as his Cochrane, Alberta, Pee Wee team gets ready for the play-offs, his doctor tells him he's healed-up enough to pay. Zach isn't so sure.

His fear of being checked hard in the corner makes him very reluctant to head back out on the ice. To make matters worse, a tough guy on an opposing team claims he has unfinished business with Zach. When he gets to talk with an NHL pro, however, Zach learns from experience how to stand up to his fears and to the bully.

Power Play shows how sport helps us face our fears, and overcome them. [Fry Reading Level - 3.3

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Chapter 1 Smell leaned forward from the bench, gripping his stick in his gloves. "Come on, Dan! Aw, man?he lost the puck!" He turned to me. "Did you see that? A two-year-old could've made that pass." "Relax, Smell. It's only the first game of the season." I was watching the action on the ice intently. "I can't relax. Ridgewood PeeWees have lost the city championships for three years in a row to the same team. It's not going to happen this year, Zach. We're a bunch of new guys to this division, but we're gonna fight." "Southglen won't have a chance, eh?" I tensed, ready for the shift change. "You and I can whip 'em, even if they are ten times bigger than us." "Speak for yourself." Smell tried to look offended. His real name was Justin, but with a last name like Melling?well, that practically begged for a nickname like Smell. I was shorter than Smell by a couple of inches, but he was no giant, that's a fact. "The Rebels are a bunch of losers anyway. They play the dirtiest hockey I've ever seen." "We can take them," I said confidently. I'd heard that the Southglen Rebels were a tough team, but I was so glad to be playing hockey again after the summer break, anything seemed possible. "If you're scoring, we can." Smell stood up as Coach gave the gate a quick rattle, the signal for a line change. Smell and I scrambled out on the ice, along with our defencemen and Colby Swanson, who was playing centre today. Coach had me on left wing, a position I don't like as much as centre, but that's okay. Hockey is still hockey, no matter where you play. I've played hockey since I was seven. I love the action, the strategy, and the speed. But scoring is the ultimate rush. You feel like you can conquer the world. Cole won the faceoff and snapped the puck to me. "Get in there, Zach!" The guys yelled from the bench. I swept the puck between the opposing defencemen, cut sideways, and was doing some fancy stickhandling when one of them tried to swipe the puck. I was showing off. I knew it. But most of the time, I can skate circles around these big guys. Being small has some advantages. I shifted to the outside to avoid the cluster of players in front of the net. I wanted to get a clear shot. The first goal of the PeeWee season had my name written all over it. My blades whirred against the ice and I squinted at the goalie, judging the best place to fire the puck and dodging a defenceman at the same time. I focused on the lower right corner, where the goalie had left a gap between himself and the net?ready?and? Whump! Something that felt like a semi-truck hit me and I flew sideways, my stick and glove wrenched from my hand. I saw the boards moving toward me with blurring speed, then I heard a sickening crunch when I hit. At first I thought the sound was my helmet or pads, but a white-hot pain exploded in my wrist?the one without the glove?and I knew something was seriously wrong. The arena lights wavered above me as I tried to get up, but the pain streaked up my arm, and I couldn't do anything but lie there gasping, stranded on the ice. I blinked when Dan kneeled down beside me. "Zach, are you okay?" I could hear the concern in his voice. I was trying to remember to breathe. "No. My arm," I managed to say. Things got a bit fuzzy after that. The coaches were kneeling beside me, and the trainer brought out the stretcher. The next thing I knew, I was on my way to the hospital, still in full hockey gear. What a great way to start the season.

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Contributor notes

MICHELE MARTIN BOSSLEY was born in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, but grew up in Calgary from the time she was five. She is the author of numerous children's books, including Taking a Dive, runner-up for the R. Ross Annett Award in Children's Literature, and The Perfect Gymnast, nominated for the 1999 Manitoba Reader's Choice Award. Many of her novels have been Canadian Children's Centre Our Choice selections, including Goon Squad, The Winning Edge, and Trapped. One of her more recent books, Pool Princess, was nominated for a Golden Eagle Children's Choice Award.

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Editorial Review

"A brilliant mix of hockey knowledge and swiftly moving narrative, Power Play is a great novel for any young reader who has a passion for sports and a desire for a compelling story."

— CM: Canadian Review of Materials
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About the Author

Michele Martin Bossley

Michele Martin Bossley is the author of numerous books for young people, including Jumper and Kicker in the Orca Sports series. A frequent speaker at writing conferences and schools, Michele divides her time between writing and parenting her four sons. She lives in Calgary.
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