Immediately following the events of the previous chapter, Saul goes to speak with Jack Lanahan, the NHL scout. Lanahan greets Saul and praises him for his talent, telling Saul that he could play at a professional level. He offers to put Saul in touch with a team called the Toronto Marlboros, a “feeder club” for the Maple Leafs. Saul is reluctant. He tells Lanahan, “We’ve tried higher levels. It sucks,” referring to his negative experience at the most recent tournament.
The Marlboros are a “minor league” team from which the Maple Leafs—probably the biggest and most popular team in the country—recruit heavily. But Saul is understandably reluctant to give so many racist people the chance to jeer at him, and his response to Lanahan suggests he’s become cynical about what it’s like to play hockey at “the higher levels.”
Lanahan can sees that Saul is wary about moving to a higher level. He tells Saul a little about why he works as a talent scout. Although he’s never been good at hockey, he’s always loved the game, calling it “perfect.” He says that Saul is wasting his time and talent playing at this level. He assures Saul that he’ll fit in with his new teammates—that “they love the game too.”
Notice that Lanahan never tries to refute the idea that some people will jeer at Saul because he’s Indigenous. Rather, Lanahan argues that Saul loves the game too much to turn down an opportunity play for the NHL.