Take 1: It’s the holiday season and with it, comes Secret Santas! It’s always a bit of a glimpse into the locker room when you hear about what guys got as gifts… maybe it’s more telling what certain guys GAVE as gifts. Hope it was a great time had by all.
Take 2: Seems like a good time to thank all the people who put so much time into making game day experiences great for all ages. There are so many wonderful people around the MJHL and just a big thank you has to go out to all of them. It takes a community of people who really, truly care to make it all come together.
Take 3: It’s not just the holiday season, it’s the season of postponed games. Already, we’ve had to go through a couple. It’s not an easy thing for the teams involved. They now have to search for dates that work for the rinks and the teams, it’s just a pain. Silly province with even sillier weather.
Take 4: Congratulations to Ty Paisley, who will be representing Team Canada West on the ice. Shoutout to the other MJHL representatives Justin Falk, who is coaching and Kate Wiens who’s there as an athletic therapist.
Take 5: Looking ahead to the trade deadline, I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be pretty quiet. There are not a lot of big trades, especially within the league itself. Could there be some major additions from outside the league? Perhaps. I think a lot of teams have done their work already and there are too few “sellers”. Though, there’s always that chance of something happening and that’s enough to keep many, myself included, quite interested.
Take 6: I can’t wait for the MJHL/SJHL Showcase coming up in the new year. I also can’t wait for the rosters. I’m hoping we can get some clarity on exactly how the teams were chosen. Selfishly, I’d like to see broadcasters have more of a say in something like that. We tend to watch a lot of teams play in person and we have a sense of who stands out on any given night.
Take 7: Wishing former MJHL’er Zach Whitecloud a speedy recovery from injury. The Vegas defender went down and is believed to be month-to-month. Not a great outlook but Zach is a warrior. He’s a great example of doing things off the ice the right way and because of that, hopefully, he’ll be ready to go sooner rather than later.
Take 8: World Juniors are right around the corner. This is a fun time where the American players get a little closer cheering against Team Canada. There’s a lot of bragging rights on the line and believe me when I say there’s a lot of pride, too. Players are into it, as you can imagine. Let’s hope for another great tournament and Go Canada!
Take 9: Speaking of the World Juniors, it’s disappointing for Manitobans that they will have no home-grown players waring the red and white. It’s the first time since 2008 that the Canadian team has no Manitobans, no players from Manitoba WHL teams and no rostered Winnipeg Jets prospects. Carter Brooks wrote a piece about it for GameOnHockey.ca, it’s definitely worth checking out and follow him on Twitter, @CBrooksie84.
Take 10: Super random but if you, your family, the hockey team, the coaching staff or anyone really is looking for a great time out, go to an escape room. They are an absolute blast! I’m sure I’m not telling you something you don’t already know but if you haven’t been ever or even in a while, plan a day out. If you have some time off during the holidays or even after the players return from Christmas break, take them out as a billet family. It’s so much fun.
Take 11: Teddy bear tosses should be done at intermission, not after goals are scored. It needs to be said. Unless you have a flawless plan to pick up the adorable stuffed animals, do it at intermission, don’t slow the game down. Also, intermission activities or games should not be longer than 12 minutes. Let’s get the ice cleaned and let’s gett’er goin’.
Take 12: As of right now, there are 7 rookies in the MJHL with at least 10 goals, meaning 7 rookies have a shot at hitting the 20-goal plateau. Last season, 5 first year players hit the mark. Before that, in the 2019-20 season, there was only one, Caiden Gault of Selkirk. In 2018-19, again just one, Terrier Sheldin Howard. The 2017-18 season saw just a single rookie do it once again, Steinbach’s Austin Heidemann. While it may be a stretch all 7 current rookies hit 20, it’s pretty amazing to think of the young scoring threats we have impressing throughout the MJHL right now.
Take 13: The holidays can be a tough time for many. It’s okay to not be okay, especially this time of the year. It’s important to remember you can reach out and talk to someone. If you’re feeling good, maybe reach out to someone else. You never know what a simple message can mean to someone. Mental health is important. Let’s be there for one another.