Tis the season that junior hockey families truly enjoy-the Christmas break. It is the time of year when all of our young men come home to sleep in their own beds, catch up with school friends, visit the family pets and get recharged for the stretch into playoffs. We also cherish that we get a break at this time of the year-it wasn't that long ago that every Christmas school break was filled with a trip to some tournament inevitably a 4 hour drive away.
When I returned home this morning from work (I work 3rd shift), I came home to a weird smell in the family room and it wasn't from the cat box-turns out I had not one but 2 hockey players at home and their gear was spread out through the family room.
I have to say, it was a very welcoming odor, reminiscent of my sons years of minor hockey, and something that I miss having around here.
This is the 2nd Christmas that my son has come home for. Last season he was with the National Championship Helena Bighorns in Montana and this year he is playing for the Brooks Bandits in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
With my son playing in Alberta, I have been limited to watching his games on the internet and haven't seen him in person since he left in mid August. It is nice to have him home and he has sure changed. He's gotten a bit bigger and stronger and he's also growing up. His hair has gotten much longer (he's always had a crew cut) as the Bandits do not cut their hair (I can live with that-it's better that dying it bleach blonde) and he has quite the Alberta accent going.
It is nice to have him and his local friends from minor hockey come around, particularly for me as their former coach.
Most of them are spread out in the junior ranks here in the US
and of course they are doing pick up games at our home arena.
Those skates are a blast to watch-a bunch of life long friends and former teammates having fun.
I will be making a couple of trips to the rink while he is home to watch these sessions and catch up with all the boys.
But I also miss the little things-fixing equipment, sharpening skates, running to the hockey shops to get new equipment, cutting sticks and just being part of the action.
While I sold my sharpener last year, I did get to do some repairs to Anthony's skates today and I know we'll be making a trip to the hockey shop over the next few days to get some replacement stuff.
I know I used to complain when I brought home 20 pairs of skates every week and would sharpen them in the garage-the dust from the sharpening settling on the Harley's Black Cherry Pearl paint. We had rolls of hockey tape all over the place, helmet screws laying around, torn pads awaiting repairs, and of course the mix of jerseys and socks hanging on the racks.
All of it wonderful memories!
So to all Junior Hockey families, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year!! Enjoy your time home with your young men hockey players!!