47w, 2dCompleted Story Compendium
Equestria Hockey League – Part I: A New Team
One cold, winter afternoon, Princess Celestia was sitting on her royal throne bored with no royal duties left to be performed for the rest of the day. Seeing the snow gently falling outside, she devised a plan to create some outdoor winter fun for her subjects in Canterlot. As Princess Celestia looked out upon the palace, she noticed she had a prime piece of property to use for this plan. The royal pond was currently barren and closed off for the winter. Using her magic, Princess Celestia refilled the pond with water and then froze it, leaving a glistening sheet of ice. Soon after, the Canterlot ponies began to visit the palace to skate on the royal pond.
One day in the heart of the winter season, a visiting pony from a land far away brought some curious equipment with him to the royal pond. He brought a bundle of large sticks, two netting apparatus, and a single black rounded stone. The visitor then explained to the Canterlot civilians that a game can be played with the things he brought. He called the game “hockey”, and began demonstrating how to play. It did not take long for the ponies to pick up on the visitor’s game and soon all of Canterlot would come to the royal pond to play in and watch hockey games, including Princess Celestia herself.
As the years went on, more improvements to the game were had, including the emergence of talented ponies that practiced and studied the game most of their lives. Also, some ponies created safety padding and equipment to protect the players from harm. Princess Celestia enjoyed watching the evolution of this sport and wanted to share this honorable game with all of Equestria. She requested that an organized league be formed so that hockey can be played and enjoyed by all ponies far and wide. The league was named the Equestria Hockey League, or EHL, for short. Originally, five teams from five cities participated in the league: the Canterlot Equestrians, the Cloudsdale Red Wings, the Appleloosa Black Apples, the Manehattan Rangers, and the Fillydelphia Flyers. The champion of this league would win the coveted Celestia Cup and each pony would have their names engraved on the trophy for years to come.
“And thus the Equestria Hockey League was born,” said Twilight Sparkle as she closed her book The Origins of the EHL. Twilight used her magic to levitate the book back in its place on the bookshelf. She then looked out the window and saw a sparkling, white winter landscape blanketing Ponyville. While she preferred to stay indoors, she saw many ponies laughing and having fun playing in the snow. There were snowball fights, ponies building snowhorses, and ice skating. Twilight sighed and searched for another book when Spike rushed into the main room.
“Hey Twilight, wanna go play outside?”
“No thanks, Spike. I want to read some more. There’s a few books here I haven’t been able to get to yet.”
“But it’ll be fun! We could throw snowballs at each other and go skiing!”
“I told you I have too many books to read still,” as Twilight magically lifted different books off the shelf and bringing them closer to see what they contained.
“Aww, alright,” Spike said dejectedly. “I’ll go see if any of the others want to play.”
Spike then put on his winter gear and left the treehouse. Twilight found a new book to read and immediately began studying it. Outside, Spike went around town to recruit his friends to play with him. Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Applejack, and Fluttershy followed Spike back to the treehouse and they all began having fun in the snow as Twilight kept to her book. As she went to turn to a new chapter, Twilight heard a knock at the door. She went to the door and opened it to find no one there. Suddenly, a big, wet snowball hit her in the face. Spike and Rainbow Dash began laughing uncontrollably as Twilight frustratingly brushed the snow off her face.
“Nice throw, Spike! That was awesome!” exclaimed Rainbow.
“Haha, gotcha, Twilight!” Spike said proudly.
“Come join us, Twilight! We’re having oodles of fun!” Pinkie Pie yelled.
“I say it is very delightful out here in the snow, darling. You can wear those trendy new boots I made you!” said Rarity.
“Sorry, girls, but I have too much reading to do right now,” Twilight said.
“Twilight Sparkle, you’ve been sittin’ in your house readin’ all day. It’s good ta’ get some fresh air and work out yer muscles! Come out and join us,” said Applejack as she tried her best to convince Twilight to play.
“Pinkie Pie is going to teach us how to ice skate better. It would be fun if you come and skate with us…if that’s okay with you,” Fluttershy said softly.
Twilight saw that her friends all had a hopeful look on their face that she would join them. She quickly tried coming up with another excuse, “But you saw me last year during the Winter Wrap Up. I did horribly at skating.”
“That’s okay, Twilight! We all had to learn sometime. Now that we don’t have the Winter Wrap Up to worry about right now, I can teach you better!” said Pinkie.
“I’m sorry, girls. Maybe some other day,” Twilight said with a twinge of guilt.
Defeated in their attempt to coax Twilight out to play, everyone sadly turned away to resume their winter activities. Suddenly, Spike felt a rumble in his stomach. He let out a giant burp which meant a scroll had arrived from Princess Celestia. Spike unfurled the scroll and began to read it aloud:
“To My Most Faithful Student, Twilight Sparkle: Although you have been very dedicated and thorough with your studies thus far, I am afraid you will spend too much time studying and not be able to enjoy the winter season while it is still here. I have not told you this, but my favorite winter activity is to watch the ponies play hockey. I have requested that the Equestria Hockey League grant Ponyville an expansion team. Your assignment is to gather up a team of ponies to play for the Ponyville Golden Leafs. I shall be expecting a report at the end of the season. Although the weather in the winter is not as fair as other seasons, it shall be enjoyed just the same. Enjoy the winter and have fun with your friends. I look forward to seeing you play against the Canterlot Equestrians soon. Good luck to your team.
Your Royal Princess,
“Hockey?!? I can’t play hockey, let alone skate! Ugh!” shouted Twilight.
“All the more reason for you to join us! Don’t worry, Twilight. We’re gonna make you the meanest, leanest, ice skating, hockey playing pony around!” Pinkie said confidently.
“You really think so?”
“Darn tootin’, sugarcube,” Applejack said.
Twilight finally agreed to join her friends for some fun and skating. “Before we go, let me go grab my books about skating and the EHL.”
Everyone yelled out “TWILIGHT!”
“Okay, okay. We’ll go now,” said Twilight with a slight laugh.
They all arrived at the frozen Ponyville pond with their skates. Pinkie Pie started skating immediately. Rainbow Dash was next to join her on the ice. She zoomed past Pinkie and started showing off her speed. Applejack and Spike were next on the ice. Applejack had some trouble at first but eventually found her balance. Spike was having fun switching between his skates and his tail to skate on the ice. Rarity finally gathered up the courage to put on a pair of old, worn skates. She then delicately tip-hoofed onto the ice hoping not to fall. Pinkie skated over to help Rarity out and soon Rarity was skating along with everyone.
“Your turn, Twilight! We’re ready to help you out!” Pinkie yelled from the center of the rink.
“Oh, alright,” said Twilight hesitantly.
Twilight put on her skates and slowly stepped out onto the ice. Her legs wobbled and shook as she tried her hardest to keep her balance. Twilight felt she was doing alright until she began to fall. She closed her eyes and braced for impact but she didn’t feel anything at all. Twilight opened her eyes to find herself gliding around the ice. She began to cheer until she looked back to see Pinkie pushing her along.
“Ready to go by yourself?” Pinkie asked.
Twilight instantly began to panic “Oh no no no no no…”
Pinkie thrusted Twilight towards the center of the ice. Twilight frantically moved her legs to keep balance, hoping any combination of movement would keep her upright. Twilight then remembered that she could use her magic to help guide her. Her horn began to glow and she started skating as gracefully as any pony has ever seen. Twilight giggled with confidence as she was finally getting a hang of skating. The next test would be to skate without any magical help, but she knew there would be time for that over the next few days. For now, she felt like she conquered the ice and was perfectly content for the day.
After an hour of more skating fun, Twilight and friends went back to the treehouse to rest. It was a good time to start discussing how to go about forming the team.
“So, girls. Anyone know anything about hockey? I read a little about it today, but has anypony actually played it?”
Applejack chimed in. “I haven’t played, but I reckon Big Macintosh has. I think I remember goin’ to a couple of his games back in the day.”
“Um…I have,” said Fluttershy.
Everyone stared at her and Rainbow Dash bursted out laughing. “You played hockey, Fluttershy? That’s a good one!”
“It’s true. When I was young, my parents tried putting in me all sorts of different sports so I could meet new ponies and be less shy. I only played for a few days. I didn’t do too well because I was afraid of getting hit with the puck.”
Twilight spoke up, “Well, it’s not much, but it’s a start. I’ll study more about it tonight and tomorrow we can try to figure out more stuff.”
“Well, we can come up with other things right now,” said Rainbow Dash. “I want to be number 20!”
The other ponies paused for a moment to think which number they would want. Pinkie was the first to hop up.
“Ooh, ooh, I want to be number 33! It’s fun to say! Thirty-three! Thirty-three!” Pinkie said jumping around the room.
“I think I wanna be number 88. It sounds like a strong number,” said Applejack.
“I want to be number 9 because it’s so elegant. I can then be ‘dressed to the nines’ as they say!” Rarity said with a laugh.
“I’d like to be number zero please. Zero is a nice and quiet number,” said Fluttershy.
“I guess I’ll be number 42 then. For some reason I just enjoy that number,” Twilight proclaimed. “Now that we have our numbers, we can have our jerseys made. Rarity, could you make us some jerseys? We’re the Ponyville Golden Leafs. I trust you can make us something great.”
“I’ll get right on it!”
The ponies broke for the evening and went home. Twilight spent the rest of her night learning about hockey and the many intricacies involved. She fell asleep, face down into her hockey book, and began to dream about playing alongside her friends and winning the Celestia Cup.
The next day, Twilight used a chalkboard to begin assigning positions to her friends. Spike watched her try to piece together a suitable lineup that played to each of her friends’ strengths. “Now, Spike. The center position is for the pony who has skill and speed. The center pushes the puck up the ice and tries to make the best play. I think Rainbow Dash would be the best for center, don’t you agree?”
“Yeah, sure,” he said with much disinterest.
“Both the left wing and the right wing are primarily for shooting. They also have to race after the puck once it goes into the offensive zone and try to get it and keep it away from the other team. Rarity would make for a good shooter because she is so precise and has great attention to detail. I bet her accuracy is fantastic. Applejack could be on the other wing because she’s strong enough to take the puck away from anypony who tries.”
“So you’re putting an earth pony and a unicorn pony on positions that need wings?” Spike asked with confusion.
“Haha, no, that’s not how it works. That’s just a name. The sides of the hockey rink are called the wings. Now for defense, it looks like it will be Fluttershy and I. Defense takes great patience and knowledge, to know when to anticipate the opponent’s moves and when to attack. I know we’ll be weak at first but maybe our offense will be good enough to where we can screw up a little bit and still win. And finally, that leaves Pinkie Pie to be goalie. She’s got some…uncanny flexibility and agility. Plus she’s pretty soft so the puck won’t hurt her too badly.”
“Sounds great! So…where am I playing?”
Twilight looked around her chalkboard quickly. When she realized that there were no more positions open for Spike, she tried quickly thinking of a new role for him to have. “You can be our equipment manager! Yeah, we’ll need someone who is super organized and able to fix things. It’s a very important job. Hehe.” Twilight nervously let out a laugh, hoping Spike wouldn’t be discouraged by not playing.
“All right! You can count on me, Twilight!” Spike gave Twilight a small salute and then ran off to start finding hockey gear.
Twilight wiped her forehead. “Whew, that was close. I thought for sure he would be upset he wasn’t on the team.”
Twilight agreed to meet her friends at the pond again for more skating practice. Today, Twilight set a goal for herself to skate on her own without any help from magic. Spike stumbled behind, trying to carry all the hockey equipment he found. When they arrived at Ponyville Pond, everypony was already there and skating. Twilight greeted them and Spike handed out the gear so that they could start playing while Twilight practiced her skating. Before practicing, Twilight briefly explained each position and their responsibilities. No pony quite understood what she meant right away, so Twilight just had them start playing.
Immediately, Rainbow Dash was excelling at the sport. She was (figuratively) flying on the ice, scooping the puck up from whoever had it and taking it to the net. Even though Rainbow was playing skillfully, she did not care to pass much. Applejack began to show off her muscle as she was able to take the puck away from Rainbow whenever she was able to get close enough. That was not often, though, as Applejack was too slow on skates to chase anyone. Rarity didn’t go after the puck, but she was skating better. When Rarity got the puck to shoot, she tried slapping the puck on net. Rarity’s shot weakly flew through the air, but she was able to pinpoint perfectly where she wanted it to go. Fluttershy, as expected, was too afraid to go after the puck. She was, however, able to anticipate when the puck was coming at her, to which she promptly moved out of the way for fear of getting hurt. Pinkie Pie was doing a decent job being goalie. She glided across the net quickly and made some incredible moves to keep the puck out of the net but sometimes she was caught out of position and was a little overexcited getting in on the play.
Twilight caught glimpses of her friends playing while she was off on her own skating. She saw that each one of them had the raw ability within them to be great, but they need time and more practice before they can begin competing. As for reaching her goal, Twilight was skating without any magic. She wasn’t fast, but she was happy to be stable and not falling…much. After another day at the rink, Twilight and friends were tired and found themselves back at the treehouse to talk about the team.
“How did everyone do?” Twilight asked.
“It was so much fun! I was like this, and this, and this!” as Pinkie demonstrated every slick save she made, inciting a laugh from her friends.
“It was awesome. I was so fast and no one could stop me!” boasted Rainbow.
“Well that’s good to hear.”
“How was your skating practice, Twilight?” Rarity asked.
“It went pretty well. I didn’t have to use magic! But I haven’t gained any speed yet.”
“Don’t worry ‘bout that, Twi. You’ll get faster in time,” said Applejack.
“Yeah! You’ve only skated for two days. You were doing much better than I did my second day of skating!” Pinkie exclaimed.
Twilight smiled. “Thanks, girls. Hey Rarity, how’s the work coming on our jerseys?”
“I stayed up all night putting the finishing touches on them. I think they’re quite darling!”
Rarity levitated a cardboard box over to her. She opened the box and lifted up a jersey. The jersey was made from clean wool and had a distinct royal blue color. Emblazoned on the front was a leaf made out of golden thread. In bold blue letters on the leaf, “Ponyville Golden Leafs” shimmered in the light. Rarity turned the jersey around to show the ornate stitching of the name and number on the back. The jersey read “RARITY 9” in more golden thread. Everyone looked at the jersey in awe and cheered Rarity for her work.
“That looks amazing, Rarity!” Twilight said with a smile.
“Thank you, thank you. These were so fun to make. I think I might make more of these to sell at the boutique! You know, once we start playing and we gain adoring fans!”
Rarity gave each pony their respective jersey. Instantly, they all had their own jersey on and were playing around. Hearing the commotion, Spike ran into the room.
“Hey guys, what’s going on?”
“Oh, hi Spike. Rarity just gave everyone their jersey!” Twilight answered.
“Neat! Where’s mine?” Spike asked as he dove into the box to find one for himself.
Twilight walked over to Rarity and whispered in her ear.
“Ah, I do believe I have something in there for you, Spike,” said Rarity.
While Spike was inside the box, Rarity used her magic to quickly put together a shirt that said “Equipment Manager” in yellow gems on the front. When Spike got out of the box empty handed, Rarity presented him the shirt. Spike fell in love with it and put it on.
For the rest of the evening, Twilight explained more in-depth what each pony’s position and responsibility was, now that they had played a little bit during the day. Every pony accepted their role happily. Twilight spoke up again.
“According to the book I read, before the season begins, each team hosts training camp. During training camp, everyone practices really hard and they begin to learn certain plays and strategies.”
“Oh, camping? I just detest camping. Being out in the wilderness makes you all dirty and icky,” cried Rarity.
“Oh boy! Camping will be fun! I’ll bring my camp party supplies! There’ll be ghost stories and s’mores and a scavenger hunt!” Pinkie said with great excitement.
“And tons of cute little creatures to play with!” happily squeaked Fluttershy.
Twilight raised her voice “Girls! It’s not that kind of camp. We won’t be going anywhere. We’re just dedicating our whole days to practicing and getting better as a team.”
“Oh, I suppose that will be nice too,” said Fluttershy.
“Well I cain’t wait! I’m ready to put in some hard work, learnin’ some plays and tricks n’ all,” Applejack said with energy.
“Let’s do this!” yelled Rainbow Dash
Twilight then put her hoof in the middle of everyone “Then it’s settled. Next week, it’ll be the Ponyville Golden Leafs’ first training camp!”
Every pony followed suit and put their hoof in. On three, they all yelled “GO TEAM!”
To Be Continued