Rather than join the predawn masses who braved the crowds for holiday bargains Friday, I did what sane hockey dads should so -- I slept in. It's not that I don't like passing up good deals, as those help pay the hockey bills around our house, it's just that I'm not a big fan of crowds unless, of course, they're at an NHL game. Besides, aside from a few odds and ends, we've finished our Christmas shopping.
Like any hockey family, items related to the game will be among Colin's haul come Christmas morning. In fact, he already has some of them, namely his Tampa Bay Jr. Lightning warmup suit and special edition Steven Stamkos Bauer TotalOne stick still waiting to be cut down for use. And, yes, a sizable portion of his travel team fees are included.
This past Friday night, during a lull at work, I consulted him for another of his Christmas presents. While most kids here in Hockey Bay want a new-look Lightning jersey with a No. 4, No. 26 or No. 91 on the the back, Colin wants one with No. 18, for grinder Tampa Bay's Adam Hall, on the back. Given that's the type of role Colin plays, it makes sense to me.
Beyond those, though, he'll have to wait until Christmas morning to see what else he's getting. There will be a few items, some more necessary than others, that will soon be sitting under the tree. I suppose, too, that there might even be some new equipment to unwrap, but let's keep that between us, shall we?.
Still, though, getting hockey gear for Christmas is an age-old tradition within hockey families. I opened my first real hockey skates, a pair of those Rally Bobby Orr models, one winter morning in Western New York. I could tell, just by the box, what they were. Many a Christmas morning, too, found a new, wooden stick, wrapped only in a bright red bow, propped against a wall near the tree.
Like most hockey families, we stagger the hockey equipment purchases
throughout the year. I couldn't imagine having to outfit him, from head (his Mission M11) to toe (Bauer OneSupreme 100s -- youth size, thankfully), all at one time. If you're spending close to $500 on gear, it's hard to find room in the budget for the latest toys or electronic gadget. I feel sorry, too, for families with more than one kid playing hockey, but I guess that's what hand-me-downs are for.
Besides Christmas, Colin's scores hockey gear on his birthday, as a reward for a solid year in school and, well, just
because he sometimes needs a new pair of gloves, elbow pads or pants. Going forward, there's a new pair of skates on the horizon. The
same holds true for a hockey bag. He's had his eye on a black-and-gold
Grit Hockey Tower, one of those trendy bags that more and more kids wheel into rinks.
He'll have to wait a little longer, though. Sooner or later, something better, or newer, will come along that capture kids' attention. That's when I'll find one of the Grit bags on sale, far below the $170 they command these days. I'll tell you what, too, I won't be buying it at 3 a.m. either.