Saul is now almost thirteen years old, and ready to begin the new hockey season. Shortly after the season begins, some men from the nearest town approach Father Leboutilier and ask him about Saul. Saul is so talented, they explain, that they want him to play for their team. After some thought, Father Leboutilier agrees to let Saul play for the other team.
Leboutilier seems to want the best for Saul—that’s why he agrees to let Saul play for a more challenging team that’ll encourage Saul to improve his game.
Saul begins practicing with the town team, the White River Falcons, coached by a man named Levi Dieter. However, Father Leboutilier continues coaching Saul in the mornings. As Saul begins playing for the Falcons, he does well, but he overhears nasty or condescending comments from the crowd, such as, “he’s good for an Indian.”
Although Saul relishes hockey, he encounters racial prejudice during his games, just as he has in virtually every other area of life at St. Jerome’s. Many white people in the crowd are racists, who resent Indigenous Canadians (especially if they outshine white athletes at a traditionally European game, as Saul has been doing).
One day, Levi Dieter has a talk with Father Leboutilier, and delivers some bad news which Leboutilier has to pass on to Saul: other teams have been refusing to play against the White River Falcons because Saul, their star player, is Indigenous Canadian. Saul is outraged. Leboutilier explains that the other teams “think it’s their game,” when in fact it’s “God’s game.”
Saul’s talent causes other teams to refuse to play with him—not simply because the other teams don’t want to play against an Indigenous Canadian, but because they can’t stand being beaten by one. As Leboutilier suggests, white Canadians think of hockey as a distinctly white, Canadian game, meaning that it’s humiliating to be beaten by an Indigenous athlete.