Our Annual Christmas Adventure…at the SoBe Ice Arena, Las Vegas

By Lee Samuels

Las Vegas – Five minutes before faceoff and there is no sign of Johnnie Gold, the Barstow Brothers or their team or head coach Jack Black.

Then this happened on a cold, wintry Christmas Eve before a sold out crowd.

“They are all here – below the ice rink – not sure what Johnnie Gold is doing but that’s where he and the Barstow Brothers are located,” texted Boy Genius Ryan Zurfluh, age 10, to coach Rob Pallin.

“Impossible – there is nothing below the ice surface here,” stated Wally Lacroix hockey director at the SoBe Ice Arena.

“I run this place.”

“They are deep under the ice…” Boy Genius texted from a bunker inside of the arena.

While all of this was going on Kid Sister, Leah, was baking ginger cookies with the great blade sharpener Dave Francis in the Sobe Pro Shop. 


The arena went dark….

Just then a blinding light flashed at center ice…..the center ice then separated and from the depths of the Sobe Ice Arena arose – on a slowly rising golden throne – the great goal scorer Johnnie Gold, dressed in gold with his gold hockey stick – his protectors the Barstow Brothers – and the three of them stepped off the throne and onto the ice. At the same time the rest of the LA Wolves skated quickly onto the sheet of ice.

Game on….


Well not so quick.

Johnnie and the Barstow brothers skated to the Vegas bench which was full not just with skaters but with Pallin, Anthony Greener, Wally Lacroix, GM Zee Khan, super scout Tommy Ricketts and execs John McNicholas and Greg Yochum plus star reporter Bethany Drysdale. Vegas hockey Dad Steve Allen was nearby peering through the rink glass.

“Where’s hot shot,” Johnnie Gold asked.


“The UNLV guy,”

That of course was Rebels GM Zee Khan

“We’re playing against you – UNLV – next on January 9 over at City National,” Johnnie Gold said.

“No can do. We’re playing Minot State that night,” Zee stated.

“Check your phone.”

Zee looked at his phone. The head of the Minot State team said “got your message, we will not be coming in on January 9. Hope to put this back together.

“How dare you,” Zee said to Johnnie Gold.

Johnnie Gold laughed. He held his golden stick in his right hand and looked towards Wally Lacroix.

“Thank you for the championship banner. We have it hanging behind our bench. Looks nice,” Johnnie Gold said. The Barstow Brothers smiled, but just a little

At that very moment Wally lost it. They had sniped the AA Jr Golden Knights 16u National Championship banner. 

“What’s wrong with you,” Wally said

“Do the right thing coach. We win we keep it. You win, we give it back.”

At that very moment Boy Genius texted to Wally “don’t answer that…no response needed. It’s a mind game they are playing.”


Meanwhile Gramps, over by the stick rack, looked high onto the south wall for Anthony Greener’s famous Rebels framed #96 jersey.

Instead he saw a Barstow Brothers jersey framed in that spot.

“Anthony…please…make all this go away,” Gramps said.

Anthony turned from the rinkboards and said “don’t worry Gramps. We will deal with this. No one will be taking anything from this rink.”

Then Gramps said “Skitters is missing…”

Skitters is the rink kitten who wanders into the wrong spots on game nights.


Lastly Johnnie Gold asked reporter Bethany Drysdale to come to their bench and do a story about him.

Johnnie said “Just me. Will tell you the inside story. Join our team. Walk over to our bench.”

Bethany sighed and said “Johnnie I am a Vegas girl. I cover this team. Could never leave this area.”

Johnnie Gold laughed. “Well your friend Kat is going to write her story from our bench.”

Bethany thought for a moment.

Kat would never do that.


Meanwhile while all of this was going on Boy Genius Ryan was working on activating a electronic force field on the net Johnnie Gold would be shooting at. It was the same force field which stopped The Genius in a game here on July 4.


Then, out of no where, Lacroix gets a text from the hotel GM.

“Santa missing from the casino floor. He was here a few hours and now he cannot be located. Please help. Kids are upset.”


During the first timeout in the game, Lacroix walks over to the Johnnie Gold bench.

“Hockey is one thing. Kids are another. All of you were kids. Please let us know where Santa is,” Wally said.

Johnnie Gold laughed and said ‘You know the game coach. We win, Santa’s going with us back to LA. You win, which you have a very little chance of doing, Santa goes back to your precious casino.”


“Getting the force field set on south net,” Boy Genius texted to Pallin who shared with Lacroix, McNicholas, Yochum and Tommy Ricketts.


Pallin then texted Peppers, the zany Zamboni driver.

“After this period do what you have to do,” Pallin noted to Peppers.


Between the first and second period Peppers drove his Zamboni towards Johnnie Gold’s bench. Peppers pretended the Zamboni was stalled. Then, a really thick black plume of smoke came out of it and went towards LA coach Jack Black who lost it. 


“Force field activiated,” Boy Genius texted. “No one will score on the south net.”

That was the net Johnnie Gold was shooting on.


While all of this was going GM Zee Khan – who is a real GM of UNLV Rebels – was trying to explain to the Minot State GM that their January 9 game was a go.


Going into the third period the game was tied 2-2. 

But like Boy Genius stated no one was going to score on the south net.

The electronic force field was alive sparking small blue lights…..


Vegas did score, win the game 4-2. Johnnie Gold stormed off the ice. He thrashed his precious gold hockey stick onto the ice. There were chips of gold left on the ice. The Barstow Brothers were angered. While all of this was going on Kid Sister sent an invite to the Barstow brothers to come to the Pro Shop.

And they actually went there.

Dave Francis, the legend, gave them paper cups of hot chocolate. Then Kid Sister Leah, just 8 years old, gave them her just baked ginger cookies.

“Do you like them” she asked. “How are your folks doing.”

The two Barstow Brothers said the game of hockey was their family.

They really didn’t know who their folks were.

At that very moment Skitters the rink kitten wandered into the pro shop as well.

“Well you are family here,” Kid Sister said.

“On behalf of our team we want to wish you a Merry Christmas.”


Late that night, when no one was around, Peppers on the Zamboni swept up the gold chips left onto the cold ice.


When coaches Rob Pallin, Anthony Greener and Wally Lacroix left the arena they each looked high towards the dark sky where the stars were brightly lit. 

It was Christmas Eve.