As a goalie parent, Christmas often meant wrapping up hockey equipment for under the tree. We had to buy those gifts as Christmas presents because we needed the year to save for them.
My son and I were reminiscing about the year he asked for a new blocker and trapper. For many years we had a friend that worked for a sporting goods company and he'd help us to get deals on equipment. The problem was in that particular year, we couldn't pick up the gear until after Christmas. We had a hockey tournament three hours from home on boxing day and that's when we were going to be able to pick up his gift. As we led up to Christmas morning, he kept telling us he "hoped" he got his new blocker and trapper. Soon enough Christmas morning came and the kids rushed to the tree to open their gifts. As he got to his last gift and realized it wasn’t goalie gear, I could see the disappointment in his eyes. He was very polite and he thanked us, as much as this was a good lesson for him - it was hard to watch!
The next day we headed on the road to get ready for his tournament. We got to the hotel and he ran ahead to be with the rest of the team. They were all going swimming and he was determined to be the first in the pool. My husband went down to the pool to watch him and I unpacked everything. I was able to meet our friend to grab the blocker and trapper and get back on time to put it on the bed. Finally, he came running through the door after his swim and saw his gifts on the bed. The other goalie from the team was with him and they both let out a squeal. I think he was equally as excited because it was a gift only these two could really appreciate. He was smiling from ear to ear and so were we. That was the face I was looking for on Christmas morning. I always knew how much he loved playing net when each year he'd take new equipment over an X-BOX or something else. Finally, after much excitement, he got settled into bed. My husband and I went out into the hallway to play our annual tournament game of euchre (a dangerous tradition when there is an early game the next day.) When we came in for the night, there was my son sound asleep in his pj’s with a blocker on one hand and trapper on the other. To this day it is one of my favourite Hockey and Christmas memories.
From one goalie parent to another, I hope you have an amazing Christmas. Even if you don't get to see your child take their place in net over the holidays, be thankful that we see them take their place at our supper table, around our tree and right beside us. Hockey will wait for us, let's be healthy and ready to go when that crazy game takes over our life again.
- Written by Allyson Tufts