“Would you look at that!
” Sarah shouted, looking back.
The four skaters stopped and turned. Nish had unzipped his jacket, and Fahd and Lars were pulling out something large and white he’d been keeping inside it. It hadn’t been extra fleeces making Nish look fatter than usual. It was this thing, whatever it was.
Nish and the others carefully unfolded the object they had pulled from his ski jacket. It was a big bedsheet from the hotel.
The boys had attached lines to the four corners, which connected to a long coil of rope.
Lars and Fahd were holding the sheet out, the corners whipping as the wind tried to catch it. Nish unwound the coil of rope, then tied it around his waist.
” Dmitri said.
” shouted Sam with a squeal.
” added Travis.
Nish gave the thumbs-up, and Fahd and Lars let the wind fill the sheet. It swelled at once with the hard breeze flowing up the canal, and Nish suddenly shot out from the crowd that had gathered around.
“KA-WA-BUNG-GA!!!” Nish screamed.
He shot by the four Owls with a huge smile on his beet-red face. Travis had rarely seen him look so triumphant – and Travis had seen many, many such looks on his best friend’s face.
Nish ripped by . . . and he began to soar!
The wind had gusted from somewhere beyond the Chateau Laurier, dipped down into the trough of the canal, and punched hard like a fist into the open sheet, lifting Nish off the ice and into the air. He was airborne!
He was also helpless. He had tied the rope tight around his waist and now was frantically trying to loosen it and escape. But it was too late. The wind gusted harder, and Nish, having harnessed its power, had to go along for the ride – for however long it lasted.
People were screaming. Some were pointing their cellphones in Nish’s direction, hoping to capture a photo of the flying skater.
Nish rose higher in an updraft. Travis could hear him screaming, his high-pitched shriek a familiar note in a full orchestra of screaming and shouting from along the ice.The world’s largest skating rink had come to a complete halt. People stood still and stared up in awe.
Nish flew even higher, now four storeys or more above the crowd. As he flew along the canal, the skaters in his path parted, fearing he would release himself and drop like a sack of cement wearing two sharp skate blades.
Nish screamed and the wind changed direction, buckling the sheet in half. The sheet fluttered and folded, and Nish plummeted to earth.
He came down hard on the roof of the nearest kiosk, smashing through the structure and landing smack on a table stacked with dough for the day’s production of beaver tails.
The thick, soft dough, police would later tell the Ottawa Citizen
, probably prevented more serious injury to the boy.
Still, Nish ended up with a twisted knee and a nose full of dough. His nose would be unplugged by a nurse with a warm washcloth, but the knee would take longer. The doctor at the children’s hospital advised him to stay off it for two to three days.
The Screech Owls had just lost their Number One defenceman.
Excerpted from Peril at the World's Biggest Hockey Tournament by Roy MacGregor. Copyright © 2008 by Roy MacGregor. Excerpted by permission of Tundra Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.