As Kira looks down at the ice, she thinks about the happiest time in her life—when Peter was selling insurance part-time and neither playing hockey nor working as a GM. After Isak died, Kira had to accept that Peter would need to be involved in hockey again. As she wraps herself in a Beartown scarf, she hugs other people heading into the rink and reflects that it’s not necessary to understand everything about hockey in order to love it.
Other characters, like Kevin, look to hockey to fulfill them in ways nothing else can; Kira recognizes that this is something Peter needs, too. Hockey can’t overcome his grief, but it provides him with an arena for success. And while Kira doesn’t really get hockey culture, she loves Peter so much that she’s willing to make the most of it. This moment again reveals how hockey culture does have a positive side—it brings the town together and helps foster loving bonds between individuals, even though it’s also a challenge to people like Kira.
As Peter nervously walks around the rink, he blunders into Tails. Tails is a huge, loud ex-hockey player, so nicknamed because he liked to wear a suit with a tailcoat as a teenager. Today he owns a big, successful supermarket chain and is a major team sponsor. Though Peter tries to signal that he doesn’t want to discuss it, Tails launches into an “off the record” discussion of the likelihood that a new hockey academy will be built in Beartown, if the juniors win the final. Then Tails grabs the club president and a bottle of whisky. Peter realizes they’ve ambushed him.
As he’s gearing up for the game, Peter gets pulled into the side of hockey he hates and resists—trying to make everybody else happy. Tails reminds him that there’s more at stake in today’s game than team pride; it could have major consequences for the town as a whole. Again, hockey might seem silly at times, but its stakes are often very serious.
Fatima has never been to such a crowded hockey game. She’s only been to the more sparsely attended boys’ games. As she navigates the throng of spectators, William Lyt’s mother, Maggan Lyt, grabs her arm and asks her if she’s going to pick up the pieces of a broken bottle on the ground. Fatima silently starts to stoop, when Kira interjects, explaining that Fatima isn’t working today. When Maggan asks why, Fatima straightens up and proudly explains that she’s here to watch Amat play. When Maggan is swept away by the crowd, Fatima quietly asks Kira if she can sit next to her. Kira takes Fatima’s hand and says, “Oh, Fatima, I should be asking if I can sit next to you.”
Maggan’s rudeness highlights Fatima’s outsider status, as well as the way that outsiders are treated harshly in the town more generally. But in one of her best moments, Kira comes to her defense and helps Fatima stand up for herself. It’s a good example of how, though Kira may not understand Beartown hockey culture on its own terms, she can easily identify and confront its blind spots.