Sport­ing leader re­mem­bers Christ­mas favourites

Re­call some mem­o­rable Christ­mas gifts from their childhood

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

The Com­pass asked four lo­cal sport­ing lead­ers to re­flect on some of the best Christ­mas gifts they re­ceived as chil­dren, and their an­swers were quite re­veal­ing.

Ev­ery­one has a favourite Christ­mas gift.

Whether it was that Bar­bie you re­ceived in Grade 3, or the new Plays­ta­tion en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem you re­ceived last year, there is al­ways a gift that stands the test of time in your mem­ory.

How­ever, if you played sports as a child, there might be a cou­ple of gifts that stand out. Like the hockey stick you wanted, or the new pair of skates you waited all fall to re­ceive.

It did not mat­ter what you asked for, Santa al­ways de­liv­ered.

That does not stop, as you get older.

There is al­ways some­thing you want, or wish you could have, and Christ­mas is the per­fect time to get it.

Whether you are a pro­fes­sional ath­lete or a weekend war­rior, there is al­ways some­thing on your list.

The Com­pass de­cided to dig out the favourite sports-re­lated gifts some of the re­gion’s more prom­i­nent sport­ing fig­ures re­ceived while grow­ing up.

Glenn Lit­tle­john, Port de Grave MHA

Glenn Lit­tle­john might be best known now as the MHA for the dis­trict of Port de Grave, how­ever, grow­ing up he was heav­ily in­volved in the sport­ing scene in Bay Roberts.

Whether it was grow­ing up play­ing hockey in the re­gion dur­ing the win­ter or soft­ball dur­ing the sum­mer, Lit­tle­john was al­ways at some­thing.

When think­ing back, Lit­tle­john’s favourite ath­let­i­cally themed gifts re­volve around skates.

In fact, his first pair of steel-toed skates were a Christ­mas gift. Lit­tle­john re­mem­bers buy­ing them from lo­cal mer­chant R & I Saun­ders.

“They are a pair of Bauer Big Chiefs,” he said.

Lit­tle­john was in Grade 5 when he re­ceived those cher­ished boots.

“I re­mem­ber go­ing down to a skat­ing party af­ter Christ­mas with the school and I had the new skates,” he said.

In fact, skates were al­ways around dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son.

“You made due till Christ­mas, and then Santa al­ways gave you a new pair of skates,” said Lit­tle­john. “From a Bauer Big Chief to a pair of CCM Tacks.”

Now, he said his list is pretty short th­ese days.

As long as the boot lasts him, Lit­tle­john fig­ures that might be the last pair of skates he owns.

Nick Saun­ders, pres­i­dent, Eastlink CeeBee StarsNick

Saun­ders was al­ways into hockey grow­ing up, both watch­ing and play­ing Canada’s

game. The 39-year-old smiles when he re­mem­bers one of his favourite sports-re­lated gifts.

At age 9, Saun­ders was a big fan of su­per­star Wayne Gret­zky. So much so, all he wanted was a first edi­tion of the Mat­tell Wayne Gret­zky doll. But, that’s not what he calls it. “You can call it a doll, you can call it a Bar­bie, but I in­sisted it was an ac­tion fig­ure,” said Saun­ders.

That same year, he re­ceived another cher­ished gift.

It was a Gret­zky model Ti­tan hockey stick.

“It was best of the best,” said Saun­ders. “It had (Gret­zky’s) au­to­graph print on it.”

Thirty year later, Saun­ders is still look­ing at hockey sticks. An Eas­ton Stealth com­pos­ite hockey stick is on his Christ­mas list this year.

He broke his off a cou­ple of weeks ago.

“I’d also like a great sec­ond half of the sea­son for the CeeBees,” said Saun­ders.

Scott Cros­bie, pres­i­dent, Bay Arena mi­nor hockey

Scott Cros­bie is another res­i­dent who played a great deal of hockey com­ing up through the sys­tem. How­ever, un­like the oth­ers, one of his favourite gifts has a con­nec­tion to another sport.

“I re­mem­ber get­ting a foot­ball,” said Cros­bie.

Maybe 12 at the time, foot­ball was not a sport with a heavy pres­ence in New­found­land. It still doesn’t.

But, Cros­bie used to plop him­self down in front of the tele­vi­sion ev­ery Sun­day and watch the likes of Dal­las Cow­boys’ run­ning back Tony Dorsett and San Fran­cisco 49ers quar­ter­back Joe Mon­tana.

“I al­ways wanted one be­cause it looked re­ally cool,” said Cros­bie. “I liked the body con­tact part of it.

“Turns out Santa had left it in the front porch, so I didn’t get it right away. It was some­time a lit­tle later in the morn­ing when Santa found it and sent it out.”

Al­most 33 years later, Cros­bie has fond mem­o­ries of two gifts he bought for his chil­dren.

“I can still re­mem­ber the day I bought them their first pair of skates,” he said.

Peggy Wake­ham, re­cent Cana­dian Women’s Hockey League draftee

Peggy Wake­ham is still as in­volved in hockey as she was grow­ing up. She is an on-ice of­fi­cial with Bay Arena mi­nor, and has skated with the Univer­sity of Vermont in the past.

When she was 11, Wake­ham re­mem­bers one of her more mem­o­rable gifts.

“Santa com­pletely sur­prised us,” she said. “It was a gift be­tween my brother and I and it wasn’t some­thing we had asked for, but loved it.”

Wake­ham and her brother, Matthew, had been given an air hockey ta­ble.

It did not take long be­fore the sib­ling rivalry car­ried over to the ta­ble.

“It led to some heated and spir­ited bat­tles in the base­ment,” she said.

The game is still at the fam­ily home in Bay Roberts.

“It is still in the base­ment, just in case an ar­gu­ment needs to be solved over a game of air hockey,” said Wake­ham.

An avid walker and run­ner, there is one item at the top of her list this year — a GPS run­ning watch.

“I’ve al­ready sent my let­ter to the big guy,” said Wake­ham.

Scott Cros­bie

Nick Saun­ders

Glenn Lit­tle­john

Peggy Wake­ham

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