Parents, especially Maggan Lyt, are pushing their way into the locker room with complaints and advice. Maggan demands to know what Amat is doing on the team at the last minute before the semifinal. David finally hisses angrily, “Look at him! Are you seriously standing here saying that your son deserves this more than he does?” He pats Amat’s shoulder. Then he puts his hand on William Lyt’s cheek and reminds him, “We play for ourselves, William.”
In this scene, David shows why he can be such an effective coach and father figure. He stands up for rookie Amat, readily recognizing how much Amat has sacrificed for this moment; yet he also comforts an embarrassed Lyt, reminding him that an overbearing parent doesn’t control his destiny.
Bobo can’t stand the silence in the locker room. He’s always been afraid of being forgotten and unacknowledged. He makes a few dirty jokes to break the silence. Eventually, Lars stands up and makes one too, at Bobo’s expense. The joke suggests that Bobo is a rapist. The locker room explodes in laugher, and later David will look back on this moment and wonder if the joke went too far, if he should have intervened. But he doesn’t. Even Amat laughs, enjoying the release and sense of inclusion—but he will later feel ashamed of doing so.
This is one of the book’s clearest examples of hockey culture’s misogynistic tendencies. While most see the joke as a way of breaking the tension before the big game, even David suspects that there’s more to the joke than they’re acknowledging. The fact that rape is the subject of flippant laughter says something important about what’s tolerated for the sake of a unified hockey culture.
David tells the team he’s not going to make a long speech—he only expects one thing from them today, and he doesn’t want them to come back to the locker room until they’ve delivered: “win.” The whole team erupts. Before he opens the locker room door, David whispers to Kevin that he’s proud of him.
David makes his characteristic demand of the team, and they respond as expected. Winning is again shown to be a higher priority than anything else. However, even for David, there’s also an element of paternal pride. Unlike Kevin’s actual dad, David cares about more than Kevin’s success on the ice.