With an early start to the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Christmas break, we got players from each team to share their plans. It’s a festive-themed Notebook.
Greg Parker of the Columbia Valley Rockies will have a Christmas Eve dinner with his immediate family. That will be followed by opening gifts of course on Christmas Day.
“We will try to have as much fun as we can,” says Parker, adding usually they would open one present on Christmas Eve. “Christmas morning we have a big breakfast. We will probably get on a Zoom call and talk to some cousins and grandparents and open some presents over Facetime. It’s a happy time of year.”
Josh Dalquist is staying in Creston with his Thunder Cats teammates.
“We are going to be celebrating as a team,” he says of his second family, as some players chose to stay where they play because of the KIJHL’s 14-day co-hort re-entry from Dec. 27-Jan.10. “It’s going to be a new experience.”
Normally Dalquist would join his family in singing Christmas carols.
“Those are always fun and just talking with my family and seeing what they have been up to,” he says.
Every Christmas is a double celebration for Fernie Ghostrider Brendan Adams’ family.
As they enjoy good food and open gifts together, they also celebrate his mother’s birthday.
“It’s kind of cool,” he says. “I prioritize her birthday over Christmas.”
They will watch Christmas movies and make gingerbread houses.
“It’s nice to see the family and not have stress from work or school or hockey,” he says.
Bryce Trimmer of the Golden Rockets will have dinner with his family and grandma. He’s excited to be with them.
“It will be good to spend time with my family. It’s something I always look forward to,” he says.
Trimmer normally likes to be with his family and friends, head to an outdoor rink and spend time with people he hasn’t seen for a while.
Keegan McDowell of the Kimberley Dynamiters and his family like to keep things tight. Christmas Eve will feature a smorgasbord of food for fondue, which includes cheeses and meat. On Christmas Day, they love skating on the pond playing games.
“Getting to do whatever you want on the frozen lake, there is nothing like it,” he says. “We will watch the World Juniors because that is my favourite tournament. And I know Bowen Byram (of Cranbrook) as I played with him in bantam and got to know Dylan Cozens when I did work with the Lethbridge Hurricanes last year.”
McDowell says it’s crazy to actually know players in the tournament.
“You never would have imagined it. It’s pretty surreal now,” he says.
Rebel Josh Wiens will be staying in Castlegar instead of traveling to Manitoba in preparation for when the league gets the green light to return to action.
“We will have Christmas supper on Christmas Eve and on Boxing Day we will go up to the ski hill for a couple of days,” says Wiens. “We will watch some World Juniors. I’m excited.”
Rilee Poffenroth of the Grand Forks Border Bruins is staying put and will be with his girlfriend and her family. He is looking forward to Christmas and will Facetime with his father, who lives in New Brunswick, and his mother who is just outside of Calgary. He is hoping the government rule on athletes 19 and over gets changed as he has ice time plans with teammates and would like to join them on the ice.
Nelson Leaf Brandon Costa will enjoy a couple of small family functions. They plan on spending time at Nancy Greene and go snowshoeing and skiing.
“I’m looking forward to it,” says Costa.
Chiefs’ Marshall Porteous headed for Calgary from Kelowna and is excited for a low key family gathering.
“This year I can just focus on my immediate family. We will have a small, quiet Christmas where we can just visit each other and ask each other how we are doing, either with jobs or school. I will watch Christmas movies and sports.”
Bryan Brew of the North Okanagan Knights usually has turkey dinner with his family, including grandparents. That won’t be the case this year, and it will be a simple festive season.
“It’s just me and my parents,” says Brew. “We will be taking it easy. It will be nice.“
Andrew Smiley of the Osoyoos Coyotes will be in Calgary with his family.
“I like to skate outside. It’s nice to come home and relax and do puzzles and family stuff. We get up on Christmas morning and open presents. We make a big brunch with waffles and I might get to the neighbourhood outdoor rink.”
Trevor Gulenchyn of the Princeton Posse will be enjoying a celebration with family.
“We will probably stay home and my mom will make a nice turkey dinner, which is something that is always exciting. I always love giving and receiving presents. It’s always fun seeing everyone’s faces when you give them something good and the funny faces when you give them something bad.”
Ethan Grover of the Summerland Steam will be with his immediate family and members on his mom’s side.
“We will try not to think about the tough times and be there as a family,” says Grover. “We will have a nice breakfast and dinner and just enjoy the moment.”
Jacob Biensch of the Chase Heat will be enjoying Christmas with his family, minus an older brother, on their farm near Marsden, Sask.
“I have been working on the outdoor rink flooding the pond. I want to get as much skating time as I can. We will be watching the World Juniors and having our Christmas dinner so that will be good.”
Kamloops Storm Chris Thon went home to Quesnel and they will stick around the house playing board games and enjoying each others company. Usually they go for a long hike in the mountains and have a picnic. He’s looking forward to keeping it relaxing.
Raymond Speerbrecker of the Grizzlies doesn’t have to go anywhere to spend Christmas. He’s borned and raised in Revelstoke and they will be doing Facetime calls with other family members.
“I always go snowmobiling with my dad. We’re lucky enough that can be done safely,” he says. “I will try to get up on the ski hill here in Revelstoke. We’re pretty blessed to have one of the best ski hills (Revelstoke Mountain Resort) in the country. I will be taking advantage of that.”
Trevor Ebeling of the Sicamous Eagles will be joining his family at their lake cabin in northern B.C.
“We’re going to go out there on Christmas Eve, have a fire. I will go skating, hopefully the ice will be frozen by then,” says Ebeling. “I enjoy being around the family. Usually on Christmas Day, we do all our presents and then get ready for Boxing Day for the World Juniors to start. I’m super excited. It’s a special time of the year for sure.”