As a rookie, Saul is appointed “center” on the Marlboro team—a much-desired position. During a press interview, Saul tells journalists that he learned how to play by pushing frozen turds around on the ice with a stick. His teammates regard him as “weird,” and say things like, “I heard they’re like that” (referring to Indigenous Canadians). Even so, Saul remarks, “They took my passes.”
Continuing the themes of the previous chapter, Saul appears to be succeeding in his new division, thanks to his enormous talent. His teammates may not like Indigenous people, but Saul suggests he’s too good for his teammates to ignore.
The Marlboros face many excellent teams during Saul’s first season. The press regularly describes Saul’s achievements on the ice using turns of phrase like “taking scalps” or “on a raid.” In short, the journalists refuse to regard Saul as just a hockey player—rather, he “always had to be the Indian.”
Even when sports journalists praise Saul’s performance, they do so in a way that uses aggressive stereotyping. As a result, Saul begins to feel excluded, even when he’s doing very well.
Saul becomes angry with journalists, fans, and other players who belittle him for being an Indigenous Canadian. He channels this anger into the game of hockey, sometimes fighting his opponents on the ice. On one occasion, he gets into a fight with three opponents after one of them hits his legs. After the game, Saul’s coach tells him that he’s being a “cheap goon.” Saul replies, “I’m just giving them what they want,” adding, “I’m the Rampaging Redskin.” The coaches begin benching Saul. Before long, he’s off the team.
Saul finds it harder and harder to control his anger. Eventually, he breaks down and begins fighting back. Deep down, Saul seems to know that his coach is right: he is being a cheap goon. But he has so much pent-up anger and frustration that he can’t seem to help himself from simply responding with violence to the violence that has, for years, been directed at him—and as a result, he’s kicked off the team.