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Avalanche Holiday Memories

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche recently caught up with a few members of the Avalanche to find out what the holidays mean to them. The athletes reminisced about their favorite childhood Christmas memories, the best present they’ve ever received and their holiday traditions.

Best Christmas Memory
Kyle Cumiskey: Waking up every Christmas morning to get my presents. That’s the thing I remember the most, just how excited we were.

Ben Guite: My mom’s family is from Quebec City and every Christmas my family and I would drive up there. We always had good times there.

Marek Svatos: I just really like Christmas. I like to get presents. I enjoy every Christmas, but don’t really have a favorite one.

Scott Parker: The snow days and playing in the snow. Getting the sleds and ripping it up, just being a kid.

Family Traditions
Ian Laperriere: My kids wake up early already. They’re up at 5:30, so I don’t think they can wake up earlier than that to open presents. But we have friends and family coming for Christmas. It’s going to be a packed house and the kids are going to be excited.

Jose Theodore: When I was younger we had a cottage on a ski hill. So every time we went there I’d watch Team Canada at the World Juniors. For me, Christmas is watching the World Juniors, snowboarding outside and being with the family. My Christmases between the age of 10 and 14 were the best.

Parker: Usually my folks come down and we’ll do a Christmas dinner. We just sit around the house and enjoy the company. Very mellow.

T.J. Hensick: We always had Christmas at my house with my dad’s side of the family. Everyone came over on Christmas Eve and we’d go to church. Those memories are pretty special, being stress free and relaxing with the family.

Good Eats
Milan Hejduk: The food is always the same. We usually eat traditional Czech food on Christmas or Christmas Eve. We have potato salad and either chicken schnitzel or fish.

Cumiskey: We always went to my grandma’s house for Christmas Eve dinner. We had turkey, turkey stuffing and mashed potatoes. All that good stuff.

Svatos: We eat fish back home with potato salad. We celebrate on the 24th, which is when we get our presents, so that’s a little different. We also have a special cabbage soup that we eat.

Guite: Tourtière. It’s pretty much a meat pie with potatoes and onions. It’s something my grandma was unbelievable at and my mom picked it up and taught me how to do it. My mom’s coming over this year, so I’m sure we’ll have that on the 24th.

Laperriere: Lots of sweets. My wife bakes great desserts. A lot of eating, a little bit more than usual. Back home we have sugar pie, something you don’t have in the States. My wife makes a great sugar pie with brown sugar and syrup. It’s very sweet, but it’s only for Christmas time.

Favorite Christmas Movie
Guite: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It’s unbelievable.

Parker: There’s been a lot of them made. Probably the Christmas Story, when they have the 24-hour marathon.

Laperriere: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, I guess. My kids are into it right now. I really didn’t have a favorite one, but now that my kids are watching that, I like to watch with them.

Hensick: Probably Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation, but growing up I always watched Home Alone.

Theodore: I would have to say one that really reminds me of Christmas is Home Alone. That movie really brings back memories.

Favorite Present
Hejduk: When I was a little kid, my parents gave me some hockey stuff and I was pumped up.

Svatos: Probably the watch I got a couple of years ago. That’s probably the nicest thing I’ve received. The thing is, I like presents, it doesn’t matter what’s inside. It’s the thought that counts. I like every one of them.

Theodore: I was about four years old and I always liked dirt bikes and motorcycles. My dad bought me a little electric motorcycle. They were hard to find at the time, but I came downstairs and saw it. I kept that thing until I was 12, I think.

Hensick: It had to be a hockey stick and a hockey goal when I was three. It sprung my motivation to play the game.

Guite: Remember when they came out with those yellow Sony Walkmans that could go in the water and you could pretty much bounce off the floor? They were pretty bulky if you look at how small iPods are now. They were basically sports Walkmans, but my sister and I were pretty excited about them.

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