It's with the illustration of free electrons, like the ones who form our league, that provoked some thoughts of the men who make up the Ligue Fédérale des As. It's often the members of a league who make it special, and choosing them wisely is not a simple matter. From one league to another, the game is the same, other than a few different rules, but the personalities who reside in a league vary widely.

It's true, the people who run a league have to work with those who want to take part in the activity, but it's also their responsibility to accept members who are ready to play the game and go along with the level of decorum desired by the group. Once we've gathered together the players we want, and set aside the undesirables, the remaining task is to balance out the group among the different teams. This is probably the trickiest part, because you need a mix of leaders in the room and on the ice, and people who play with quiet determination as well as the odd big mouth. Great players, along with those of more limited talent but who play with guts and all they have. Next, the choice of goaltender must be factored in, as well as the egos of those who make up the chemistry of each team. There are several ways to accelerate the cohesion of a group, but the fact remains that sometimes some characters are incompatible, and it's in those cases, and when a team has trouble getting rolling, we have to act.

This is just one part of the recipe to build a league and attract new players, but who are they, where do they come from, and what do they have in common? In general, they share a love of the game, but there's more. There lives in them, even in the most serious and stoic among them, the little boy who doesn't want to get old and doesn't want to go in for dinner when the most beautiful sound in the world is his skate blades cutting into the ice.

When they're on the ice,  players are all equal: a senior manager at an international company, carpenters, musicians, they all forget the people who surround them day to day, the people who dictate their moves. Like an orchestra conductor, the referee gets their attention with a whistle, the clock starts to tick as he drops the puck and unleashes the dreams of millions of players.

The puck is launched into play, and at the same time all references to time, except the game clock, are erased. It is no longer men who play, but the soul that lives within them. Age, physical condition, what's going on in their heads, are forgotten in the whirlwind dictated by the bounce of the puck and the bodies gliding on the ice in search of the perfect play of their dreams, like a Bobby Orr or Sidney Crosby today. Of course, the reality of a goaltender is a complete other story, but that is for another day. . .