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Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 4:07 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 4:08 p.m. CDT
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(Photo provided)
Storyteller Michael Parent will present "A Beautiful Game" at 7 p.m. March 15 at Spoken Word Café, 125 E. Van Buren St., Woodstock.

ockey might be “A Beautiful Game” to Michael Parent.

But even those who know nothing about the sport can relate to his story, he said.

“Sport stories, when they are good ones, are about much more than the game,” said Parent, a professional storyteller, author and musician from Lewiston, Maine.

Parent will perform at 7 p.m. March 15 as part of the Spoken Word Café series at Stage Left Café, 125 E. Van Buren St., Woodstock.

A repeat performer, Parent was invited back during hockey season to share his experiences as a goalie for his small-town St. Dom’s hockey team, which competed against heavy odds for the New England Championship at the Boston Garden in 1964.

“This story touches on a few things,” said the 68-year-old Parent, who’s been working as a professional storyteller since 1977.

Among the themes threaded throughout the tale are a son trying to impress his father, and the prevalence of religion in sports, he said.

“Like in the town where I grew up, a town can be economically depressed, but if the local team is doing well, it covers a multitude of economic ills,” he said.

With many small towns today facing hard times, it’s a relatable topic to most everyone, he said.

His performance falls nearly to the day of the 50th anniversary of Parent’s championship game. He preferred not to reveal how the story ended then or will end this weekend, but said, “There was a lot of tripping and falling along the way.”

Among those resurrected in his story are a parade of memorable characters, such as his father, described as a traditional, hard-working Franco-American man-of-few-words, as well as Gaston, a local factory worker who bets his paychecks on the hockey games.

“I would like to invite people who know nothing about hockey. I think a good story, whether it’s about sports or anything else, turns into something we should all know about,” Parent said.

This is Parent’s fourth appearance at Spoken Word Café, hosted by Jim May and his Nippersink Stories Company.

“He’s one of our most popular storytellers,” May said. “I think he’s got the record for the amount of donations put in at the show.

“It’s a fun show, a lot of humor and some tender moments. We figured we’d bring him back.”

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