With only six days away until Christmas, I decided to ask a few Devils players what their best Christmas ever was. Some shared their favorite gifts, others shared their memories of spending time with their family and the traditions they’ve had since they were kids. Here are their contributions to today’s Christmas Throwback Thursday special.
“Oh wow,” Gelinas said. “That’s a tough question.”
He reached back in his memory to the time when he was 10 years old and received one of the most unexpected gifts he’s ever received.
“I think probably the most special gift I ever got was my first one-piece stick. I got it. I wasn’t really expecting it. I thought my parents didn’t want to spend that much money for a stick, and I finally got one, so I was really happy.”
How did he initiate the stick in?
“I think I actually slept with it,” he responded laughing. “I was really happy to have something special like that. It meant a lot as a young kid. I appreciate that.”
“It would have to be when I was younger…eight or nine years old probably,” Zajac said of his favorite Christmas ever. “I just remember every Christmas we would open presents. An hour later, we would go to the rink and play hockey. That was what we wanted to do on Christmas, just skate outdoors and stay there all day with some friends and family. That’s how we enjoyed our Christmas.”
When did this tradition begin?
“Definitely younger, probably seven or eight years old.”
What was Henrique’s favorite Christmas ever?
“The World Juniors was pretty neat,” Henrique said of the 2010 tournament that took place over the holidays in Saskatchewan, Canada. “It was a dream to play for Canada in the World Juniors. I mean, it’s tough being away from home and miss[ing] Christmas, but that was pretty special for me and my family.”
That year, Canada went on to the final round losing to the United States in overtime (5-6). He took home the silver in that tournament.
As for gifts, what was his favorite Christmas present he ever received?
“I got a snowmobile one year,” he said smiling. “That was pretty neat. I can’t remember how old we were…14 or 15 maybe? 13 or 14? Around there. But anyway, yeah, Dad had a big surprise for us that year so that was pretty exciting.”
Growing up on a farm, having a snowmobile or a four-wheeler seemed to be like a common recreational vehicle to have around.
“We always kind of had one. As we got older, they got us our own.”
“I never get to drive it because I’m never home in the winter,” he said laughing. “But that was pretty neat.”
“I don’t know,” he responded. “I don’t remember much Christmas.”
MK: There are a lot of photos out there of you from when you were a kid.
“Where?” he asked. “I don’t remember that. It was a long time ago.”
“Probably when you’re a kid, you don’t have to go to school. You can watch TV. That was kind of a nice break. The gifts, they’ve always been there, so it was no problem. The break from the school…that was big.”
“Last year was kind of different because it was the first time in a while I was with my parents,” he said of his last special moment spending Christmas with his family.
“Last year, because of the lockout,” he said of why he was able to spend time with his parents. “I didn’t see my parents for a long, long time…since 14, I would say. I wasn’t home on Christmas. I wasn’t in Czech. It was the first time in probably 30 years I was in Czech.”
How did they celebrate this special occasion?
“The same way like when I was younger,” he said. “It just didn’t happen very often.”
The young new rookie scored his first NHL goal on December 18th. Nice Christmas present to himself, right?
“Yeah,” he said laughing. “It was a big relief to get the first one out of the way.”
“Favorite Christmas?” he asked. “I don’t know. They used to be all the same to me. You know…wake up, get my pair of skates for my one present. They’re all special.”
How old was he when he got his first pair of skates as a Christmas present?
“I don’t know,” he responded. “That’s been my only Christmas present for so long. I don’t know when it started. That was my Christmas present.”
“Every day was special,” he said with a smile. “Every Christmas I’d get to go to my grandparents’ house for breakfast and all my family was there. It was nice.”
Wishing you all a very happiest of holidays.