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Stories

Second Careers

When it’s time to change careers or face hardship in the workplace, many Americans ask, what would Jesus do? According to John Warner, most hockey players would prefer not to know.


I don’t think that Christ would be shy to shake off his gloves and protect his teammates.
—Stu Grimson, NHL Enforcer/born-again Christian, spoken on ESPN


* * *


Jesus? Jesus Christ? Yeah, sure I remember him. He was a scrapper, a real character guy. I mean—Jesus Christ—he was Jesus Christ, you know?
Bob Morrison, Jesus’s Coach with the Saskatoon Bear Trap of the Near Western Outpost Hockey League (NWOHL)

He’d go to war for you for sure, always there to defend a guy. But one time, when Scialabba pole-axed him, just clubbed the living shit out of Jesus right between the shoulder blades, Jesus didn’t do anything, that SOB just turned the other cheek. ‘Vengeance be not man’s but God’s,’ he said. Course we couldn’t take any chances, so next shift, I got Scialabba with a nice hearty jab in the stones, if you know what I’m saying.
Vincent Dalmpierre, Jesus’s former Bear Trap teammate

Jesus always wanted to score more, who didn’t? But he knew that wasn’t his role. He used to say, ‘I know, I know, smite the wicked, dispatch the base.’ Coach Morrison didn’t have to tell him what to do to Scialabba. Jesus just stepped up and did his job. He never enjoyed the dirty work like the real psychos did, though. He didn’t relish the job. I mean, you could tell it wore on Jesus sometimes, like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Randy Duchesne, Jesus’s former Bear Trap teammate

Jesus was a great one for stories. Like on those awful bus trips between Hamilton and Saskatoon, you could always count on him to pass the time. He had this one about a traveling salesman, a milkmaid, and a fig tree. I never did figure out what the hell he meant, but oh man, that one just killed me.
Claude Lalonde, Jesus’s former Bear Trap teammate

Jesus was a cheapshot, chickenshit life-ruining motherfucker.
Rich Scialabba, former player, Hamilton Force

Never did care for the guy. Tough little player, but every time I called a penalty it was always, ‘Judge not lest ye be judged,’ and I’d say, ‘Shut the hole and get in the box.’ And, yeah, there was that thing with Scialabba, that wasn’t too good. I saw the whole thing. Not a memory I care for, for sure.
Conrad Gaulthier, referee, Near Western Outpost League

I’m not going to say he didn’t have it coming, but you hate to see that kind of thing happen, even to a prick like Scialabba.
Duschesne

Sure, I took some heat. They said I sent Jesus out there to mess up Scialabba, but let me get a few things straight. First, this is hockey, not goddamn tiddlywinks. Second, Scialabba had been taking liberties for the first six games of the series and had to be stopped; the faint of heart don’t win the Richard’s Cup. Lastly, I didn’t have to say anything about what to do with Scialabba, not word one to Jesus. He knew what had to be done because he was all about what was good for the team.
Morrison

No, I didn’t see it. I’m glad I didn’t. Who wants that memory?
Duchesne

Nights are toughest. It’s a dry cold up here, and that makes the socket ache. The painkillers stopped working years ago, and Rich Scialabba is not going to be some kind of dope fiend.
Scialabba

I’ll tell you something about Jesus, what he was like as a player? Afterward, after the thing with Scialabba, Jesus went back into the locker room and wept. Jesus wept.
Duchesne

It was a lot of blood. The screams were tough. I almost felt bad for Scialabba, but that miserable fuck had to be dealt with. It’s part of the game.
Dalmpierre.

I’m just thankful that Laurie was at home with the kids.
Scialabba

Jesus just kept saying ‘An eye for an eye, an eye for an eye.’ Scialabba didn’t run, but he was plenty scared all right, anyone could see that.
Gaulthier

The incision was really very clean, extending several centimeters along the orbital ridge and ending just above the maxillary. There wasn’t much left for us to do but fit Mr. Scialabba for the prosthetic.
Dr. Paul Wilson, Chief of Retinal Surgery, Blessed Heart of St. Mary Hospital

The suspension was for life, all leagues, organized hockey, period. Mr. Christ had to find another line of work.
Jean-Pierre Valmont, Commissioner NWOHL

biopic

TMN contributing writer John Warner’s first novel, The Funny Man was recently published by Soho Press. He teaches at the College of Charleston and is co-color commentator for The Morning News Tournament of Books. More by John Warner