Saul arrives back in Manitouwadge and walks from the bus stop to the Kelly house. Virgil answers the door, and, surprised, invites Saul inside. “What happened?” he asks. He tells Saul that he has already read about Saul’s career as “The Rampaging Redskin.” Saul explains that he did well on the team, but was penalized for fighting. Virgil points out that, even with his bad record with the Marlboros, he has the stats to join the NHL. Saul shakes his head and says, “I just want to play the game … I can’t do it with all that bullshit getting in the way.”
As the passage makes clear, Saul is talented enough that he could play for the NHL, even with his record of bad behavior. Therefore, Saul is making a conscious decision not to try out for the NHL: he’s so sick of putting up with racism that he refuses to put himself in a position where he’d be a target for racists. Tragically, Saul is so overcome with frustration that he backs down, giving the racists exactly what they want: for Indigenous Canadians to disappear from hockey.
Saul tells Virgil that he intends to work in the mines or the local mill. When Virgil tells Saul that he was born to do more, Saul replies, “Says you.”
Saul has been putting up with bullying and cruelty for so many years that he’s beginning to give up on the idea that he can play hockey without having to deal with the difficulties that come with being a minority on the ice.