hockey is an aggressive game, and that stands to be a fact. it’s also pretty well known, that there’s a certain amount of honor fighting built into the very core of the game. what’s less known, is that junior leagues and the ncaa took some serious precautions against fighting. that being said, will mallory had been in a grand total of three ( significant ) fights in his hockey career; once in juniors, and twice with the terriers; twice for himself, and once for someone else.
the one that’s important is the one he didn’t fight for himself. he hadn’t been in a fight since he took a stick to the chin slicing it open and that reckless rage had taken over — that expulsion from the rest of the game and the next one did wonders in curtailing will’s more, erratic actions on the ice. but junior year, what was to be his final year with the terriers before he was off in black and gold for the bruins, his right wing was cheaply bodychecked against the boards and didn’t get up.
he was captain. he didn’t get in fights that kept him off the ice ( sure there were those slightly extra cross-checks and covert gloved punches that disintegrated into glares, but never anything that had gloves flying off and neck collars grabbed at ). not since his freshman year when he had blood dripping off his chin. not since he became captain and couldn’t afford to be benched for a game and a half — there’s a line to be walked, and will walked it WELL.
he’d watch the videos later and admit that it did look pretty badass, though badassery certainly had no motivation in his head when he went barreling at the defenseman that’d potentially done some serious damage to his teammate. he remembers little of the actual incident, only snippets of half-buried memories. a hand at his collar, attempting to cut off his air, thumb tucked along the outside of fingers, them both tumbling down until the refs pulled them off each other, panting and sweating and glaring. his right hand bleed, cut out by a rogue skate or split by the roughed up ice beneath faithful skates. online polls would say he definitely won that tussle.
but that felt like it was a long, long time ago, even if the pale-white scars across his right hand were still present. will mallory hadn’t been in a fight on the ice since then, and never would. thinking about it brings the cold, metallic scent of the rink into his nostrils, makes his leg throb and stomach clench for the feeling the comes with skating, with a stick between his hands, the buzzer going off as the puck finds the back of the net for the winning goal, and your teammates surround you in hugs until you’re unsure where one body ends and the next begins.
he swallows, fingers tracing absentmindedly at the handle of his coffee mug, white scars dancing across the dips of his knuckles. “ what makes you think i’ve been in a fight? ”