As a hockey player I embrace the Christmas season just as much as I do hockey. It brings many memories and good times at home and in the rink. A great hockey memory that involves Christmas was when my dad rented out the Vancouver Canucks practice rink on Christmas Eve morning and invited out all of our closest friends and family. Although we haven’t had the time to do this in recent years, I still have great memories that have carried through with me.
It all started bright and early in the morning. My dad would wake my brother and me up at about five, pack our hockey bags and make the so called “necessary” adult purchases for the dads and moms after the ice time. After we picked things up we would head over to the rink for an early but refreshing seven o’clock start. The rink was completely empty, almost giving an eerie complexion to the atmosphere. As a young keener I would suite up in my gear and head out there before anyone was even close to stepping on the ice; in fact I was out there with half of the rink’s lights on. A while after the ice was filled with loved ones and close friends all ready to have a fun and entertaining game of shinny. I remember getting extremely frustrated when the old guys would strip me of the puck when I felt there was no possible way they could stop me, unfortunately this clearly wasn’t the case. The game went on until the Zamboni driver came banging on the glass telling us to get off the ice. More often then not the Christmas spirit was alive and well within the arena staff, giving us an extra half of playing time.
After the ice time, the kids would eat candy and hot chocolate while the parents sipped their “coffee.” The locker room was never vacated until at least an hour or two after the ice, providing great memories and stories that all hockey players know don’t necessarily need to be repeated.
Finally the locker room was empty and everyone wished each other a Merry Christmas and parted ways to their family endeavors. It truly is memories like these that stick with you for a long time, maybe some longer then others but still something to look back on and laugh about.
Lastly I personally would like to wish everyone reading this a very happy holiday season this year.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Irving household.