|Reviews for Across the Ice|
| metamodernmarx chapter 1 . 12/26/2014
This story, according to the label, is one involving romance and friendship. I shall hereby use those as a pretext for my analysis.
Opening: Your opening is very descriptive, recounting in bold detail the exact happenings of the baseball game. Although I personally do not know baseball very well, I am intrigued by your eloquent and vivid setting and its elements, both in Space and in Time. The introduction gives a good background to the whole story, and also serves to describe in detail the exact events of the game so as to justify the goal, and give us an overall view of the characters.
Characters: I felt that the characters were only actually injected with life much later on in this chapter, only during the locker room scene. Perhaps this is due to the frantic and perhaps (over)vivid description of the games, but I thought they could have been expounded upon further, i.e. their traits, their dialogue, their personalities and emotions. However, I do like the energy provided by Riley, who seems overall, while not speaking that much, a more developed and creative character as opposed to the others. This is especially seen from your weaving of Riley's thoughts and stream-of-consciousness into the main dialogue, from the third person, where there is no actual narrator. As mentioned earlier, the element of friendship in this story is allegedly important, and based on this chapter alone, I have seen signs of its development. Already in the dialogue regarding the trading of players we see the emotions displayed by Riley and his potential hypocrisy, in not knowing Vitaliy well, yet still choosing to speak well of him.
Writing: This is the part that impresses me the most. The present tense here is purposeful, as it injects a sort of involvement into the reader; unlike the current stereotypes asserted through the continuous and abusive usage of it in many first-person narratives, you have managed to capture the attention of the reader by tense alone, and I congratulate you for that.
However, it would be good if there was less *jargon*, so to speak, in your opening. I felt that it was a little too technical and had to re-read it to gain a better picture of what you were saying.
Ending: Well, this is only the ending of the first chapter, but nevertheless your playful inclusion of the protagonist's voice in the third person narrative was a refreshing movement that would incite the reader into pressing for Chapter 2. I enjoyed your clever usage of continuous dialogue right before the concluding paragraph, which took on a prosaic form. This would serve as a contrast that prevents any boredom on the reader's part, as well as a solid and unquestioning end to the chapter, with a description of a simple kind, of Riley, just at the start of the conclusion; paradoxically, the element of question reigns, in that the reader wants to find out more about the plot, about its continuation, about what will happen next. Especially since you labelled this whole story (which I see is completed) under romance too; this only sparks the reader's curiosity, especially if he opened the page solely with the intent of reading something romantic.
Overall, I found this quite engaging and readable. While the story isn't profound in any sense, it sure has a flow to it, in action, as well as dialogue, making the reader want to read more. I might take a look at your other chapters soon (I'm on a very busy schedule), and then, once I've finished everything, and only until then, can I judge your writing in its entirety. But as for now, good job, and until then! :)
| Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 26 . 9/7/2014
Plot: You know, I like that this is warm and just the characters having fun, without being silly or too fluffy. It's a sweet, heart-warming ending to a realistic story that really made redefine my hatred of romance. I like how this epilogue continued the tradition of avoiding common tropes and cliches (like Riley giving Grace a long speech about God knows what), and just has the two of them being genuinely in love and knowing that. I like that it's also including some recent internet phenomena like 'ice bucket challenge', because it gives this story a modern and contemporary tone that makes it feel even more relatable. I also like the allusion to other character and their antics (the Vits and Ryan stuff and so forth). It's pretty good and satisfying :) A very good epilogue to a satisfactory story.
Dialogue: I find this to be a strong point in this chapter, especially because of the last scene, with Grace and Riley. Instead of the dialogue being corny or silly, it's just realistic and, because of that, heartfelt. Like in most of your chapters, your dialogue just always sound natural and not stilted or fake. It's just believable, and I like how it also makes the characters seem livelier. I also like that you don't overuse dialogue tags and balance your dialogue well with the prose.
Ending: I loved the proposal scene - just so cute and sweet, with Grace accepting the ring without too many fussing around, and Riley giving a genuinely heartfelt speech: it's short, but relatable. I like that it ends with dialogue and some inferred fun times later - it keeps their tale open and maybe even a bit private. I, as the reader, feel that this is truly enough, and that I can let those babies go with the assurance that they'll be fine and happy. I also like the understated writing in this ending - it keeps the emotions more real and genuine. I also like how you incorporated the crazy antics of the 'ice bucket' challenge into the ending, before moving to the proposal. It made it even sweeter, especially because of Riley's awkwardness.
Character: Riley is as sweet and awkward as ever, and I just love how he's so good-natured about everything. He's so kind and polite too, which one might say is because of his origins, but let's avoid cliches :P. He's just always trying to the right thing, and even tries to reconcile with people who weren't nice to him. This shows that he's just a great guy who can overlook past issues and move on. I love how he loves to have a good time too, without getting too mad - what a modest, sweet guy :3
Relationship: It's nice that Grace and Riley love each other so fully that they don't need too many words to understand each other. You do it in such a non-cliche way too; they just know each other, and are willing to open up to one another. It's really sweet and satisfying :3
| Persevera chapter 21 . 8/31/2014
Great job with the game *scene. It was easy to follow the action and, more importantly, you didn't lose the drama and inter-personal conflict in the telling. I especially liked the time lapse of Ryan's penalty, a very concise two minutes.
The *relationship between Vits and the Cotes continues to be fascinating. Ryan seemed to be as upset about Vits's injury as the Caps were and now Vits is making Riley go to the hospital with him to apologize.
As a *character the Russian was a little confusing, not only to us, but Riley as well. Some of his reactions where Ryan was concerned seemed contradictory. Hope it isn't insulting if I begin to wonder if they might be more than friends. It might help to explain their behavior.
I'm not sure where this goes so we'll say *other. I thought when Riley was talking to the reporters, it said they'd lost but then he told Vits that the Cotes wouldn't want to see someone from the team that they'd just lost to. You might want to clarify that.
Bonus: There's something I love about the players' washing away the adrenaline, as if it were something on their bodies, not in them.
| AppleCinnamon chapter 9 . 8/9/2014
[Opening] The transition here was much stronger Some might argue that the use of "previously mentioned" is redundant, but imo it is a good way to convey that the bag skate isn't always at the forefront of Riley's mind. The timing also works well given that it crossed Riley's mind in the last scene of chapter 8, so the event doesn't feel as abrupt.
[Writing] Generally your writing reads very natural and flowy, but about half way through, when Grace and Riley are getting in the car it gets a little stiff. The sentences lean a little more on the short side, but I think that could be negligible. What really does it is the sudden lack of contractions. It's only about a paragraph or two, but it was enough to make me stop and reread it in order to re-establish voice. I belive it's happened in the past (not sure if it was AtI or BtF), but it would be something to keep an eye out for in the proofing/editing stage.
[Character] Haggle. He's as unpleasant as I remember. I can't quite decide how I feel about his characterization. He's very much the elitist d-bag archetype, which on the one hand doesn't make him or the conflict with him all that intriguing, but on the other hand it *does* bolster intrigue regarding Vits, and the archetype approach makes his antagonistic role clear from the getgo. In the end, I think the effectiveness of Haggle's characterization boils down to what you want to accomplish.
[Relationship] Oh, dear, how I sympathize with Grace at the end. XD That whole 'sneaking past the defenses' thing is a real bitch, but at the same time kind of exhilarating. I think this was the best way to go with the relationship, especially considering Riley wasn't really *trying* to get anything out of her on that particular front (or at least it didn't seem like it to me). It's much more organic, and tbh kind of cute. :D
| AppleCinnamon chapter 8 . 8/9/2014
[Opening] This was something I hadn't considered before reading the author's note, but the opening is a bit jarring coming out of the previous chapter. Mainly it has to do with jumping between plots, which I probably would have overlooked if I didn't know Grace will be taking center stage soon. I think it would help the abruptness if a line or two, even if it was just a passing thought, was included to better transition from the end of the last chapter to the start of this one.
[Scene] I have mixed feelings on the decision to cover the game through interviews. Seeing as we've seen both sides of games at this point, you could certainly go either way, and there is clearer introspect to be had by recounting the game through the post-game bombardment, but I found it a bit disappointing. What the games lack in information you always make up for in action, and having a blurrier perspective on that front would have made Vits' later encounter stronger in terms of tension.
[Relationship] So glad to see Vits and Riley getting along! Although why Vits was transfered is still murky, it seems a head-on confrontation was exactly what he needed. On the flip side it's about time Riley stepped up as captain and addressed it. To some degree their relationship is mutually beneficial in that they are forced to grow individually to work better together and with the team.
[Ending] Once again the author's note helps a lot here in that it drives home the resolution between Vits and Riley. While I don't think they're completely at the end of their conflict, the end of the chapter definitely conveys a sense of truce and wraps up their conflict nicely for a break while keeping intrigue alive.
| AppleCinnamon chapter 7 . 8/8/2014
[Character] One thing I noticed quickly is that upon returning to the story after so long, I wasn't as overwhelmed as I would have expected with all the characters. Granted, I couldn't recall what all of their roles in the story is, however some of the minor characters definitely resurfaced without trouble (particularly Soaps and Leah), so even though there are quite a few characters, I didn't feel confused by all the names. And of course who in their right mind could forget Vits (whom I have to admit sticks out more than even Riley in my mind).
[Relationship] Riley's developing relationship with Grace feels more like a subplot at this point, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. The indirect approach to their story is rare if not unique within the romance genre and makes the story accessible to those who want more out of a story than "two people fall in love". I do like the visible shift we're seeing in his feelings toward Grace this chapter, as it gives a solid bit of progress toward them.
[Pace] I have to admit the second half of the chapter felt a little too slow. This primarily had to do with the conversation with Lorrie, which felt a bit drawn out, particularly the bit about staying with Vits. I hadn't even considered the possibility of them being an item until Riley called attention to it, which made it feel like more of a segue than relevant to the plot.
[Plot] So we didn't really get a lot of progression on the Vits front. Once again this is good because it keeps that plot intertwined with the romance plot, avoiding a dry "here's plot one, here's plot two" effect. And if the end is any indicator, the plot with Grace has in turn made some progress. The timing imo is great because it gives a breather from Vits before Grace can slip the reader's mind. Overall good plot balance. :)
| Aki1 chapter 2 . 8/5/2014
Hi again from the RG - Easy Fix :) While this chapter felt a bit slower than the first one, the character interaction - particularly between Bryan and Riley, and on a smaller scale (for now) with Grace makes up for that. Technique-wise, despite the fact that the summary promises her to be a major player if not co-lead, I think holding off on introducing Grace until the second chapter was the better choice, pacing-wise. She seemed a bit cold at the start, though in hindsight that might have been the guys' first impression coloring mine, and we find out towards the end that she had good reason to be. Her heart's in the right place, I think, and it seems Riley appreciates that too.
Small hiccup in the writing that I found: 'Her feet scuffles [...]' That said, I loved some of the little details you added with the characters' actions and mannerisms, such as Bryan 'popping the "p"' and Riley trying to fold the napkin into a circle - they're such small things, but they really contribute a lot, helping to paint a vivid picture.
| Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 25 . 7/9/2014
Huh, I didn’t know you were done _ . So then XDD I may as well review now since I think it’s pretty pointless to hold onto this review till the games or whatever :P. Sooo, my basic feels towards the story are pretty much the same as they were in the last chapter. I really do love this story. I didn't think I would - it was initially really difficult getting into, and I think my earlier reviews consisted of a lot of whining (I'll call it that) regarding the amount of detail in the story. I think I just wasn't comfortable with the subject matter, and that it took me a while to get used to it, to familiarise myself with it. And I'm grateful for that, because once I got over my initial reluctance to really embrace the subject matter of this novel, I really began to see it for its real strengths - solid, solid writing, very believable characterisation and one of the smoothest most natural romances I've seen in a long time.
I think you really write slice of life/realism well. And I think you could apply it well to any story or genre, because there's such a no-nonsense approach to your characterisation and storytelling. You don't waste time on melodrama, don't rush anything, but just let things follow their natural course. I think this was best demonstrated in how Riley and Grace got together. There were no fireworks, no love triangles but you just saw two people growing to like each other and eventually getting together. It felt ... real to me. I know that some people might be bored by it, but I felt it was just the right kind of romance to tell in a story that was very much down to earth and focused/reliant so heavily on believable characterisation. I also felt it made the story mature - and I really will read the rest by you too, because you've convinced me that not all stories that are labelled as 'romance/drama' have to be about 'independent' women dreaming of the perfect guy/or chasing after some asshole.
But that's just one thing. I'm not a romance fan. But I'm a fan of good stories with a good element of storytelling and believable relationships. And this is ...what AtI had for me: believable dynamics between all the boys and loveable side characters like Lorrie who breathed life in this novel. I loved it all so much, I'm gonna miss it now because those crazy people grew on me and made me realise just how much LOVE and FEELS are involved in sports. And I never taught that this would even be possible (note: I love working out and I believable in exercise, but I hated team sports due to traumatic experiences with volleyball in high school. i only ever have liked basketball due to Slam Dunk, the anime and manga XDDD).
So yeah, what can I say? You made me love a story about hockey. You turned me into someone who could see herself cheering for a team. I thought of this story while watching soccer last night, and I realised that this isn't a shallow thing at all, but something very real for a lot of people. So ...what you did was a great thing here, and you should be really proud of this story :3:3
...I should write more like how I loved the cheerfulness of this epilogue and how cute is it that Riley is introducing Grace to his Maman, but I'll just leave it at this, and say thank you :3 :3
I'm genuinely gonna miss reading this!
| Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 24 . 7/9/2014
Finally came here :D To be honest, I've been thinking of this story all the time, especially since the recent disaster at the CL for Brazil. I know it's random, but it's your story really that made me realise how much emotion, hard work and god yes, feels are involved in sports. I never cared much for soccer or hockey or all that, but your story has given me a sense of respect and admiration for these activities and their fans :3 So yes, while reading this chapter, for the first time, I really felt myself getting involved in the action, wanting Riley's team to win and feeling *elated* when they did. I just noticed how well you write those scenes and how accurately you managed to get those feels across - it's realistic, but also speaks for a lot of knowledge and love towards the subject matter on your part. Kudos for that. It's one thing to love something - it's another to manage to translate this love into something coherent and powerful and make *others* like it too :D
As always, love your writing - especially during the match scene. It's not too fast, it's not too slow, but you manage to write things down accurately and in a very understandable fashion that I do admire. I mean - things like this can get confusing quickly. You might even rush through, but you just write things down so clearly and cleanly - I admire you for that :3 I said on a review for another story that I don't like action scenes much, but I like yours because they are easy to follow and don't get dwarfed by too many details. Also, I just love the emotion in this story. It's really genuine. It's also nicely realistic, toned down. Gotta love that.
I'm going to comment on the newspaper articles too, since I know journalism is your thing. Very cleanly written, very realistic. I definitely think you manage to get the language used in newspaper down well since the reporting is objective and just the right kind of information is shared. I also like how you make effective use of headlines. Good stuff :3
The romance? It's cute. I like how they're just together and happy/cuddly - there aren't too many big words or grand overtures, but they're just enjoying their time together. I know some romance fans would be disappointed, but I myself like it - it seems more realistic and natural? And besides, this story was always more about the game than it was about the relationship, so it's all good with me. What I really liked was Lorrie barging in and her and Riley making up. I also loved the teasing on her part :3 :3
I think I'm going to go ahead and read chapter 25. Or I'll wait, just so I can hold onto this story for longer, but it's definitely one of my favourites by you :3 :3
| Highway Unicorn chapter 4 . 7/5/2014
I really enjoyed reading the practice session at the start because one, it help me *a person who know's nothing about hockey* actually get into the sport, and two, I felt you did a really good at describing/writing the action. I, myself, would struggle with trying to write out sport action, but you do so nicely! I'm really impressed.
I also like the bit of tension going on with the Riley/Grace front because it feels realistic to me; you're not forcing this couple on the reasons...you're allowing their relationship (if there will be one) to develop at a natural pace.
| Persevera chapter 20 . 7/5/2014
I liked the intrigue that developed in this chapter. The Cotes family and questions about them seem to dominate everyone's minds. I wonder what all of the information we've been given about them will mean in future chapters.
It's also curious that Erik says Vits wanted the trade. Is that sour grapes or are there machinations that Riley, with his Grace distractions, doesn't see? I like Grace's comment and Riley's agreement that the worst thing for them would be no ice. It suggests that they might be perfect for each other.
I'm not sure about Riley's reaction to Grace saying that she was fangirling Erik. One would think that he would have had a twinge of jealousy, rather than chuckling over it. Even if that's what he did, maybe we should know that he wasn't quite comfortable with it.
[ "It's a pity that you can think you can this from me."]- There seems to be something missing from this sentence, which is a shame because I like that comment.
I really like Erik taking Riley in a hug before he leaves. All mandatory banter, pranks and ribbing aside, he cares about him.
It feels like there's something significant coming in this game.
I'm excited to read it.
| Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 23 . 7/2/2014
Only two chapters behind now XD
Opening: I really like this opening, because it's so normal and wacky and just normal. I can relate to surprise! guests in the morning, and I really felt you captured that feel of early morning crankiness and sourness quite well. It’s a realistic and funny opening that I feel really captures the feeling of being awoken by surprise. What I also like about the opening is that it’s so smoothly and cleanly written: no boring anecdotes about the setting or some summary of previous events – it starts smoothly and allows the reader to dip into the chapter easily. That is good and fun, because it makes reading this chapter so much more inviting and also makes the reader feel less pressured :3 I also think it flows well with the rest of the chapter, setting the right mood for the rest of it and not standing too awkwardly apart. I think that just shows how good your writing is.
Scene: I liked the scene between Riley and Vits, because I felt they discussed things very openly and plainly here. It was nice to see Vits acknowledge Riley as his captain, but also tell him to not treat them differently – this established, I feel, a very honest rapport between them, which I am glad to see. I also thought the scene was genuinely funny, with Riley observing Vits so clearly and the dialogue showcasing/establishing good-natured, realistic banter between the two men. I like how the banter between them wasn’t over the top, but just showcased how well they have gotten to know each other. Another thing I appreciated about the scene was just how it was written – not all too heavily, but very smoothly and heavily dialogue-focused. I think that helped make the scene flow even better and ensured that it was easy to read.
Dialogue: I noticed for the first time today that Vits doesn’t speak perfect English – haha, I am such a dolt. I appreciate that – I really do, because it makes things more realistic when you portray/depict Vits as being clearly ESL. I think he’s good at English, but he still makes little blunders, which is kind of adorable. Most importantly I like that you didn’t depict his accent as being typically Russian – I’ve seen complaints about that, and as someone who speaks a Slavic language herself, I find it annoying XD. So kudos for avoiding that. What I also like is that you kept his mistakes to a minimum – he has lived in the US for a long time after all. What I further like about the dialogue in this chapter is that it’s very adorable, especially towards the end with Grace and Riley. I enjoyed how they were comfortable around each other and how the dialogue showcased this (by being light and having lots of jokes). I also always feel that your dialogue is extremely well-written, because it’s natural and you don’t make it sound stilted by surrounding it with too much description or using too many dialogue tags.
Relationship: You thought I’d not mention it, but I loved the ending :D Most importantly, I loved how Riley and Grace got together. I felt that it was surprisingly natural – there were no fireworks, no melodrama, but just two people finally acknowledging that they are attracted and enjoy spending time together. I felt that was not only realistic but utterly adorable – I felt that it really fitted them, given their personalities and all. What I enjoyed was how Grace seemed very playful here, flirting with Riley and teasing him lightly for his dorkiness. I felt that Riley was cute – so shy and sweet; I loved how apologised for everything XD. I thought it was also sweet that he finally managed to make a move on Grace – it was very tender and sweet, and I’m really glad you chose that route, especially because it makes the chemistry between them so much more tangible.
| Aki1 chapter 1 . 7/2/2014
I'm going to start off with a bit of a confession: I'm going into this story relatively blind. By this I mean I don't follow hockey (or any professional sport, really) which is almost sinful when I call home hockey-crazed Canada. In light of this handicap, I really have to commend you on writing this chapter with a lot of... not simplicity per se, but clarity? It took a couple of paragraphs to really get into, but once I did I was hooked. You wrote it in such a way that even though I blanked on most of the jargon ('power play' is the only term I was familiar with off the bat) the rest of the writing made up for the knowledge gap by filling in the blanks. Actually I think it went beyond that - the writing really took me into the action, so much that I could almost hear the scraping across the ice, and winced whenever someone was smashed against the boards. I think your choice to write in present tense was great, elevating the scene beyond just narration and really thrusting the reader in there. It worked out really well!
Riley seems extremely likeable so far. That's not an empty compliment from me - I'm very picky with characters leaning towards the 'other' end of the Nerd-Jock spectrum, but I'm liking him so far. *pats him on the head* The rest of the supporting cast so far seem like they're a lot of fun too, and the antics with the shaving cream towel and the Gatorade powder put a genuine grin on my face. I'm curious about the outcome of the trade - it was mentioned not only in the summary, but several times throughout the chapter, particularly since the guy who's leaving is apparently Riley's best friend. I'm looking forward to seeing a bit of friction, though it remains to be seen where exactly it could come from: playing against Erik, or playing with the guy he was traded for.
All in all, this was lots of fun, good job! :)
| SenatorBlitz chapter 6 . 7/2/2014
for the review game depthy! lemme soak my teeth into this one. great way to begin my morning btw
enjoyment: first off, before i say anything, i really really liked this chapter. and it might be because i'm a horrendous sucker for romance and relationships and quirkynesses and those were the predominant thing going on here, but i refuse to sell this chapter (or myself) short so i'm going to say this was a really really fun, interesting chapter. I loved the opening with Riley whining about PR, I loved the bit when he more or less kidnapped a small, disapproving child, I loved when he tried to make ammends with Gracie but ended up putting his foot in his mouth, and the ending joke by Soaps was brilliant, too. Even the locker room antics this chapter seemed much more accessible and I found myself laughing along with their mischief and friendly banter! so, yes, i enjoyed myself muchly. no skimming for me!
plot: to me, the plot is developing at a fine pace. we've been introduced to one of the major conflicts and you keep it a relevant part of riley's thoughts while allowing other things to happen, such as his altercations with gracie. i also am interested in the way that lorrie is being worked into this - mostly because im trying to figure out why. what secret suspicious plot point could be tied up in a french woman whose words confuse the hell out of you? i must know! i also like how you used plot intrigue (i.e. exploring the reasons behind the fight) to add more of a description to ryan. its when i realised he looked waaaaay different in my head - i like the new face though. gives depth to his character. he's a lil guy who plays like a speed demon, who knows to protect his body size - what could have pissed him off enough to risk concussion?
characters: gracie and lorrie are the queens of this chapter. i really want to give a hand to you in that in a story that has romance as one of its genres, the girls have more of a reason to be there than 'love interest'. it's kind of heartenning that i looked at lorrie and thought, 'where do you fit in plot' and not 'who are you going to end up with'. not that im knocking romance, i love romance, but i also usually cower from writing an engaging female character because i am afraid that i will not do her justice. characters like these assure me that there is a way to allow development without implementing damning societal stereotypes. lorrie's quirky answer made me laugh haha, but i also really like the way gracie is holding her guns. she is such a difficult character. you sit there and think of telling her that she should just make up and stop being mean to people, but then you realise what she speaks about is important. and if she doesn't make the charity organizations aware that they are not doing as much as they think they are who will? she antagonizes and prevents things from being smooth. shes a bitter pill to swallow, but shes medicine that we need and i appreciate that she not only opens rileys mind, but mine as well
ending/writing: i've already talked about how i enjoyed the ending, so im just going to talk about technical stuff in this section. i think you have a special eye for the comic, because when you choose to express it is hilarious. i've found, however, that your comedy doesn't come in actual words, but in the organisation of events. you're what i like to think of as, a set-up artist and you showed your mettle here. in any other place that little joke with the kid and his sister grace would not have been as funny, but where you put it, right after the bad run in wth grace it becomes comedic gold. because you get to fit in the actual joke, you get to fit in that riley is actually a little bit afraid of gracie, you get to fit in possible plot points (i..e is this why gracie is so pissy) and then you get to knock all of those out of the park and end on a relaxed laugh that leaves everyone the merrier for all the tension you put them through. i dont know if i am explaining what i mean very well, but that was a fantastic ending, and a fantastic set-up! well done!
| alltheeagles chapter 25 . 7/1/2014
For the RG EF
Oh, that was short! But satisfying, I must say. You didn't go overboard with metaphors and similes about Riley's happiness, and the understated account you gave us instead worked to put across a buzz that I loved. The understatedness extends to Grace's reaction, which I also liked for its relaxed warmth. IF you'd given us a "Riley moping because Grace isn't there and then she comes flying down the stands into his arms to plant a big sloppy kiss on him" ending, I think I'd have cringed. I guess the only niggly thing for me is that Riley's maman had never played a very significant role in the rest of the story, so it takes away some of the touchingness of the mother-son scene cause we can't really identify with the role she's played in Riley's success. I'd say that Lorrie had a much bigger role in that, in fact. Anyway, thanks for the ride - I learned lots about hockey, and if I was really irritatingly dense sometimes, sorry!