alexei martins

toronto maple leafs: full names

Frederik Andersen
Tyler Bozak
Connor Brown
Connor Carrick
Frank Corrado
Jake William Gardiner
Matthew John Hunwick
Zachary Martin Hyman
Nazem Samir Kadri
Leonid Aleksandrovich Komarov
Joshua Leivo
Alexey Igorevich Marchenko
Martin Marinčin
Mitchell Marner
Matthew Martin
Auston Matthews
Robert Curtis McElhinney
William Andrew Michael Junior Nylander Altelius
Roman Polák
Morgan Frederick Rielly
Benjamin Alexander Smith
Nikita Dmitriyevich Soshnikov
James Frederick van Riemsdyk
Nikita Igorovich Zaitsev

Eric Bittle enters the Falconers team dinner. It is moodily lit, the silhouettes of many enormous hockey men looming on the other side of the long dining room table. Jack holds his hand slightly tighter besides him and sighs, swearing softly in French.

“Tater, the lights!” Bitty hears someone hiss from across the table.

“Oh! Sorry!” The lights come on and Bitty is faced by an entire team of NHL players, doing their very best to look as intimidating as possible. And given that a few of them have put much larger men in hospital with hits on the ice, some of them are doing a very good job.

Tater slides past him, thumping him on the back. “Hello Itty Bitty!”

“TATER!”

“Sorry!”

Jack has gone from disapproving to very clearly trying not to laugh. Georgia is sitting on the end of the table, rolling her eyes affectionately at her players.

Thirdy and Marty are sitting in the middle of the line of players, in a tableau vaguely reminiscent of the Last Supper. They lean forward, and Bitty feels the nerves rising in his chest. He wasn’t even this nervous going to dinner with Bad Bob and Alicia.

Thirdy clears his throat, and they lock eyes with Bitty.

“Eric Richard Bittle.”

He pauses, clearly intending to do so for dramatic effect, but Bitty is just a touch too nervous to appreciate the dramatics.

“Yes, sir?”

Jack scoffs besides him and squeezes his hand in his.

Marty leans forward to join his fellow captain. And then, in perfect unison, exhibiting the synchronisation and teamwork that had led to many a tumblr post about their partnership, they opened their mouths and said,

“What are your intentions with our son?”

I just can’t stop thinking about this.  I can’t stop thinking about Fresh GM George, stepping up into her role with this new expansion team.  Thinking about her wife, about how the NHL has no out players, and how hostile and toxic it can be, and how desperately she wants to change that.

I can’t stop thinking about her watching Snowy hovering in the trainer’s room with his heart-eyes and made up injuries.  Or Tater with his secret smile, who never has a girlfriend, but never seems lonely.  And then comes Jack, with his quiet determination to prove himself, and she’s only seen that a few times in her life, and she knows from experience why Jack needs to be the best.

George, whose worked in a career where she’s had to master the use of gender-neutral pronouns to protect herself, and her job.  George who knows what it’s like to have to hide the person she loves most in the world because it’s safer that way.  George who has to be better than the best, she has to be exceptional because when they all find out, the first thing they’re going to do is question her ability to do her job.

She’s dealt with this before.  This is not the first time she’s been found on a run, by a scared rookie with shaking hands and stuttered words and fear in his eyes.  But it’s okay, because these are her boys and she’s got their backs.  And she’ll be damned if she doesn’t ensure that at least one safe space they have to be themselves is on her team.