Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 4 to 7
The Screech Owls have come to Ottawa, the capital of Canada, to play in the world’s biggest minor league hockey tournament — more than 500 teams gathering from all over the world! Little does Nish realize, as he befriends the hilarious, daring mascot, that he is about to embark on the most terrifying adventure of his lifetime.
About the author
In the fall of 2006, Roy MacGregor, veteran newspaperman, magazine writer, and author of books, came to campus. Since 2002, MacGregor had been writing columns for the Globe and Mail, but he had a long and distinguished career in hand before he came to the national newspaper. He has won National Newspaper Awards and in 2005 was named an officer in the Order of Canada. He is the author of more than 40 books — 28 of them in the internationally successful Screech Owls mystery series for young readers — on subjects ranging from Canada, to the James Bay Cree, to hockey. That fall, he spoke to a packed room in the St. Thomas chapel. After the lecture, Herménégilde Chiasson, the Acadian poet, artist, and New Brunswick's Lieutenant Governor of the day, hosted a reception at the majestic Old Government House on the banks of the St. John River. MacGregor spent the evening surrounded by young journalists and the conversation continued late into the night. After all, there were more than three decades of stories to tell.
Excerpt: Peril at the World's Biggest Hockey Tournament (by (author) Roy MacGregor)
“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.
“He’s not!” Dmitri said.
“He is!” shouted Sam with a squeal.
“He’s crazy!” 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.
"Where the story really shines is within the details of the Screech Owls’ hockey, told from various third-person kid perspectives. MacGregor excels at giving readers an inside look into the sport, and fans are sure to enjoy the play-by-play moments. Perfect for fans of John Feinstein’s sports mysteries, this series has plenty of other titles to keep the pages flipping and the puck flying."
"The Screech Owls are great reading for the hockey players in your family!"
"One of Canada's favourite -- and bestselling -- children's authors."
—Globe and Mail
Other titles by Roy MacGregor
The Ice Chips and the Grizzly Escape
The Ice Chips Book #7
The Ice Chips and the Killer Wave
Ice Chips 1-4 paperback box set
Ice Chips and the Magical Rink; Ice Chips and the Haunted Hurricane; Ice Chips and the Invisible Puck; Ice Chips and the Stolen Puck
Ice Chips and the Stolen Cup, The
The Ice Chips and the Stolen Cup
Ice Chips Series Book 4
Ice Chips and the Invisible Puck, The
Ice Chips Series
Clarence's Big Secret
The Ice Chips and the Magical Rink
Ice Chips Series Book 1
The Ice Chips and the Invisible Puck
Ice Chips Series Book 3