Hockey Family by Shane Koyczan

From poet Shane Koyczan on the recent tragedy in Saskatchewan

We have no hockey sticks to put outside, so I wrote this:


Hockey Family


We were a hockey family

though we rarely

watched the games


it hardly mattered


we could hear

the neighbors next door

every time their team scored


every time their goalie

made the kind of save

the world needs right now


you could tell what was happening

through bass and treble


bass was the sound of the other guys pulling ahead


treble was the sound of our guys

catching up


you can hear the sound hope makes

when a hockey game is played


and we are a hockey family


having driven through

small Canadian towns

who have little more than a bus load of dreams and a gas station for the Zamboni


we are a hockey family despite having rarely played


we remember the welt

the slap shot made


so thick it looked like it would never leave


we remember thinking

some of us

are meant for dice and trivia


some of us are too soft

for ice, wood, steel

and the kind of speed

that makes those things dangerous


some of us take the hits

some of us watch the hits being taken

some of us hear our neighbors weep through walls meant to cage the agony of loss


but we all

swallow our breath

in respect of the pain


we all know

it hurts


we are a hockey family.






allison girard