By: Sawyer Bennett

The first day of training camp…where it all starts for us.

A new season.

Another run at the Cup.

My first day as a member of the defending champion Carolina Cold Fury.

Fuck yeah…I could probably get a hard-on just from the way I’m feeling right now.

I walk to the team meeting room in the basement of the Cold Fury arena. First order of business is to attend this “welcome back” meeting where all the new acquisitions are introduced. Then we’ll have a team picture, followed by individual meetings with the coaches, and end the day with a party at Coach Pretore’s house. I feel like tying one on tonight, and I never deny myself something I want. I understand Coach’s welcome back party is pretty sedate, but I guarantee a few of the guys will be willing to head out after for some real partying. It’s sort of my last night of freedom before the season starts, and I can’t think of a better way to end it than drinks with my new buds and a hot piece of ass to finish the night off.

Nodding at a few players I recognize, either from having played with them before or from having checked them hard into the boards, my eyes catch on Garrett Samuelson as soon as I enter the room. He’s sitting about five rows up from the bottom with the man I know to be my new team captain, Alex Crossman, along with Zack Grantham, the second-line left winger for the Cold Fury. Garrett sees me and waves me over.

We played a year together in Pittsburgh and I was his defenseman on the right side. Good dude and glad to be back playing with him, although I know it’s not a given I’ll be playing on the first line. I mean, I should be, I just know it’s never a given.

Gray Brannon, the general manager of the Cold Fury, used her statistical mojo that has all the tongues wagging in the league and put a hard push to acquire me this year from the Titans. My stats have me as the third-ranked defenseman in the entire league, but Gray says those numbers don’t show the true story. While I didn’t talk to her directly, according to my agent, she says in her opinion I’m really the best. I’m not an overly humble man at the best of times, so I’ll have to just go ahead and agree with her.

I make my way directly up to Garrett, who stands and gives me a bro hug. Introductions aren’t needed, since the last time the Titans played the Cold Fury was just this past February. Afterward, I went out for a few beers with Garrett, Alex, Zack, and the team’s then-goalie, Ryker Evans, as our team plane wasn’t heading out until the next day. All good dudes, and fuck…Alex is the best player in the league right now, so I know how fortunate I am to be here on a defending championship team. The only one missing from the group today is Ryker, and that’s because he decided not to renew his contract with the Cold Fury.

In a move that was very controversial and set all the hockey gossips buzzing, Ryker stepped off his goalie throne as one of the all-time hockey greats and decided to retire the week after he helped bring the Cup to Raleigh, just a few short months ago. In another not quite so controversial move, but one that set female fans all ablaze, Ryker and Gray eloped to Vegas and got married. Thereafter, it was absolutely no surprise when he accepted a position on the goalie coaching staff with the Cold Fury. While it didn’t appear the executive board had a problem with a player being involved with the team’s boss, I’d bet dollars to pesos that Ryker had a problem with it. From what little I know of the man, he has huge respect for Gray and doesn’t want to interfere with her history-making career as the league’s only female general manager.

“Welcome to the team, my man,” Garrett says as they all shuffle down a seat to let me take the one on the end.

“Thanks. Good to be here,” I tell him.