In his second year with the Moose, Saul and his teammates win most of their games. Saul maintains his teammates’ respect, and gets a lot of play. Sometimes, Father Leboutilier comes to watch his games. Once, Leboutilier tells Saul, “You make the other players better.” He also tells Saul that he’s proud—proud that Saul is now “free to let the game take [him] where it will.” That day, Leboutilier says goodbye to Saul—and the two of them never see each other again.
Again and again, Leboutilier characterizes the game of hockey as “free”—emphasizing the way that hockey makes Saul feel alive, energetic, and happy. Wagamese gives readers the impression that Leboutilier is genuinely proud of his former student, and that he knew Saul would succeed all along.