Family and hockey at Christmas time
CBN sports figures share their holiday memories
Everyone has that one Christmas memory.
It usually revolves around a couple of things, a couple of holiday staples that define more holiday memories.
Santa, family and, if you’re old enough, a few adult beverages are all hallmarks of a successful Christmas memory.
These recollections trump all else during the holiday season. It can be that one gift you received as a child, or growing up to learn the season is much more than just giving and receiving things.
Maybe it is watching TSN’s countdown of the top-100 plays of the year every Christmas Eve with your family, or that Wayne Gretzky two-piece hockey stick you got when you were 10. Perhaps your favourite holiday memory is just the entire experience of getting together with family.
That’s the beauty of the season. The possibilities are endless and it really is what you make of it.
It doesn’t have to be sporting related, it doesn’t even have to be Christmas related. It is entirely dealer’s choice when it comes to the holidays. That is the magic of Christmas. But, how do various members of the Trinity-Conception-Placentia sporting community best remember the holidays?
The Compass polled a few people from across the region. The responses varied, but one thing was a constant — it was not about the gifts.
Christian Dawe, defenceman with the Tri Pen Osprey
Coley’s Point’s Christian Dawe had trouble remembering that particular gift he received that stands above all else.
For the Level III Ascension Collegiate student, Christmas was never about what he was receiving.
When he was younger, it was crossing the Klondyke bridge to see the Bay Roberts Lions Club Santa Claus Parade every year.
“The parade was always a big thing,” said Dawe.
As he grew older, Dawe came to appreciate that other side of the season. The other side includes getting together with family and appreciating the time they have to spend with each other.
Things like visiting a particular family member’s home for traditional Christmas dinner, for example.
“It is about getting together more than gifts now,” said Dawe.
Claudette Pittman, president of Placentia Minor Hockey
Like a lot of people, Christmas is about family for Fox Harbour’s Claudette Pittman. Every year since she was a child, up until a decade ago, Pittman and her extended family would go to Christmas Eve mass.
Some of her most cherished memories come from the visit to her grandparents house afterwards. They would open their gifts, while a kitchen party ensued, complete with an accordian player.
“It was something that happened every year,” she said.
Tracy Shute, Eastlink CeeBee Stars executive member
It is family and hockey at Christmas time for Tracy Shute and her family.
“We have a big family,” she said. “So, it’s all about big family meals.”
Traditionally, the big meal is held at her mother’s house in Harbour Grace. There could be as many as 30 people, ranging in age from two to 65, all taking part in the gathering.
“It is definitely family for me,” said Shute. “It is absolute madness.”
Much like it is for hockey fans in the rest of Canada, Christmas for the Shutes also means it’s time for the World Junior Hockey Championships.
It is something Shute shared with her brothers, but also with her two sons, Jack and Daniel.
“We’ll have Team Canada parties for the games,” said Shute.
What happens when the games interfere with the meals?
They do both, according to Shute.
Dean Whelan, on-ice official CeeBees Minor Hockey
Harbour Grace’s Dean Whelan is an official and a coach in the CeeBees Minor Hockey Association in Harbour Grace.
When asked about his favourite Christmas memory, two sprung to mind. Both revolve around family, but from different eras.
When Whelan was growing up, a big tradition revolved around Boxing Day.
“We always visited family,” he said. “We also anxiously awaited Christmas morning to play with my brothers and their gifts.”
Coincidentally, flash forward many years and Whelan experiences another tradition on Boxing Day.
He and his family spend much of the holidays glued to their television sets in anticipation of the annual World Junior Hockey Championships.
“We do it every year,” said Whelan.
The 2015 edition is being held between Toronto and Montreal. The home team traditionally gets things started on Dec. 26. This year, Canada will square off with Slovakia.
“The opener is always exciting,” said Whelan. “It is the first look at the team other than exhibition games.”
There you have it. Christmas memories of varying degree that make mention of all the things that make the holidays great — parades, family and hockey.