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The Official Site of the Minnesota Wild

Wild Holiday Traditions

by Kevin Falness / Minnesota Wild

Wild GameDay

Gallery: Holiday Season

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Gift Idea: Wild Holiday Pack

When players reach the NHL, they don’t get a lot of time off for the holidays. In fact, the Wild will play a game on the 23rd and the 26th this year, so all of their celebrations will be crammed into two days off, and most will stick around the Twin Cities. That means starting some new traditions, but players look back fondly on some of their traditions from earlier years as well.

GREG ZANON – As a kid we’d always go over to my Oma and Opa’s (German for Grandma and Grandpa) house on Christmas Eve and sing Christmas carols. My Opa would pretend he was Santa, knock on the door and we’d run outside and see a big sack of presents out front. Now it’s pretty much about the kids so whatever they want to do, we let them get away with on that day.

MAREK ZIDLICKY – It’s all about spending the holiday with the family. I spend the whole day at home and play with my son. It’s a nice day.

Is there a special Zidlicky delicacy? Christmas cookies. My wife makes them for us. It’s a “Czech” special. You’d have to ask my wife what goes into it, but I’ll bring you a couple.

ERIC NYSTROM – My mom makes a mean gingerbread house. She could do an Xcel Energy Center replica if she wanted to. And home cooking. We’d have a huge Christmas party with like 30-40 people and she’d make the cookies and the food and it looked like it was right out of a bakery window. She’s gifted in the kitchen.

I miss it. They always send pictures of all the cookie platters and all the food and I’m always so jealous that I’m not there. But, I’ve been doing a pretty good job of making my own Christmas dinners.

Did you inherit mom’s ability? I can’t do an Xcel Energy Center gingerbread house. Maybe a log cabin or something. I don’t know, I never tried. I can make a turkey though, and a nice meal for some friends if need be.

MARTIN HAVLAT – In the Czech Republic we’re used to celebrating the holiday on the night before, so we’re used to getting the gifts right after the dinner on the 24th. Our usual dinner is like potato salad and fried carp. 
I don’t think a lot of people here will understand how good that is. Actually, I’m too lazy to eat carp because there are a lot of bones and it would take me too long to eat before I would get the gifts when I was younger. I don’t think it will be much different this year and I’m looking forward to the dinner especially. I used to look forward to the gifts, but now it’s the dinner.

Will there be carp this year? No, no fried carp. We’ll go with Wiener schnitzel and some special potato salad my girlfriend can do, and I’m looking forward to it.

CAM BARKER – Usually family comes down. I have a younger brother so it’s always nice to see him along with my parents. I love watching the World Junior Championship. That’s something that I’ve always done with my family, and I’ll continue to do that.

Are you into the holiday movies? I prefer to watch “Bad Santa” rather than a Rudolph movie. I enjoy watching the World Juniors a lot so it’s nice that they’re in the U.S. this year, so I don’t have to get up at 6AM to watch them like when they’re in Europe.

Is there a Barker Christmas tradition? In Canada we’d always have a big shinny game outside, and I’ll never forget those. Vivid memories.

BRAD STAUBITZ – My parents are coming down, so I got the Christmas tree up and got things settled so when they come, we’ve got the Christmas feeling in the home and can spend some good time together. It was always exciting as a young kid. It was tough to get to sleep because you’re waiting for Santa to come and you have the cookies and milk out. But in the morning it was exciting. You’d unwrap the gifts, play with them for a little bit and then play some road hockey.
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