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Ice hockey enjoys referring to itself as the fastest of all spectator sports, but some of the best moments in hockey are those that occur when the game comes to a standstill. Here and on the following pages Artist Michael Ramus captures them with exquisite virtuosity. At right, after icing has been called, a linesman flashes down the rink with the grace and insouciance—if not the figure—of a prima ballerina to deliver the vagrant puck to a waiting referee. Even before the game begins, there is a certain cool delight to be had watching the two teams circle the ice (below), each at its own end, each as aloof to the presence of the other as neighbors in a newly integrated community.

It may be that nobody really goes to a hockey game to see hockey. There seems to be in every fan's heart the constant hope that some slight mayhem beginning harmlessly enough in an isolated corner will lead to an icy Armageddon where Good and Evil both shall triumph.

When the whistle blows, the happiest man has to be the goalie. How would you, for instance, like to guard the pot of gold at the end of every shooter's rainbow—particularly when much of what is happening is happening behind your back?