April 27, 2018
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Hockey story ‘Power Play’ takes center stage at Bangor Public Library on Saturday

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

Shane Reilly is a talented freshman goalie who is leading his fictional Vermont-based Hockey East school to a resurgence.

That is until he finds himself facing an academic crisis.

The new coach won’t cut him any slack. He insists on academic integrity.

The athletic director supports the coach to a point but pressures him to bend the rules so the star goalie can continue to lead the team to victories and put people in the seats.

That is the premise behind Prospect playwright Laura Emack’s latest creation.

It is called “Power Play,” and a presentation will be held on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the lecture room at the Bangor Public Library. It will be performed, with scripts in hand, by the Portland-based Snowlion Repertory Company.

It will cost $5 and the proceeds will go to the Bangor Public Library’s building fund.

It is Emack’s ninth play and her first dealing with college athletics.

The idea originated in April 2013 when the University of Maine was searching for a hockey coach after 12-year head coach Tim Whitehead was fired with one year left on his contract.

Red Gendron was selected to replace him.

“I was interested in the coaching change. And it wasn’t a topic that was explored a whole lot,” explained Emack.

She did her homework.

She attended Black Bear games and practices; took the Hockey 101 class for women who wanted to learn about the sport and she joined the Friends of Maine Hockey boosters group. She also went to a UMaine women’s hockey game. She listened to Maine games and read stories in the newspapers about the hockey program as well as Gendron’s book “Coaching Hockey Successfully.”

Emack also talked to Gendron and assistant coach Ben Guite and said everything was beneficial, especially the Hockey 101 class.

“I asked several questions in the question-and-answer period after the class,” she said.

In Emack’s play, Reilly is recruited by the athletic director while the search goes on for a new coach. A goalie who had verbally committed to attend the school decommitted when the coach was fired so “they were scrambling to find somebody.

“Reilly had a pretty decent grade-point average but he attended a very crappy school in New York City,” explained Emack. “He’s a kid with a good heart. When I initially wrote it, he was a criminal and a thug. But because he is my protagonist, I decided to make him a more likable character.

“He considers purchasing a term paper [which would constitute plagiarism],” added Emack.

She said there is also a senior goalie in the picture who loses the job to Reilly because “he chokes under pressure.”

She also writes about the relationship between the goalies.

“I know how to tell a good story. I can write dialog and prose. I’m worried more about authenticity. I’m not an athlete and it has been a while since I’ve been in college,” said Emack, a Cleveland native who graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in English in 1978.

She won the school’s prestigious Hamlet Award for a play she wrote as a student.

The play was a challenge but she said it has energy.

“I didn’t let it sit on the shelf. I got it out there and got exposure. I want to keep it moving forward. It is the most upbeat thing I’ve ever written,” said Emack, who will continue to rewrite it based on feedback she receives.

She said her plays usually attract the “theater crowd” but she is also hoping to attract younger hockey fans to this play. The audience will be invited to discuss the play.

“I’m hoping to get the hockey fans in the audience to speak up,” said Emack whose goal is to have it made into a “full production.”

She finished the first edition of her play before the initial Dec. 19 deadline and has made several changes since.

She has become a hockey fan.

“I love the sport, the speed and the grace,” said Emack, who works for Haverlock, Estey and Curran, LLC, CPAs in Hampden.

Those wishing to attend Saturday’s presentation can do so by calling 567-3437 or via email at LKECPA@prexar.com. They can also just walk up.


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