With Thanksgiving now in our rearview mirror — and despite Kmart’s insistence that it began in September — the winter holiday season is officially a go. And the winter season brings with it winter sports, so we here at WSN reflected on some of our favourite winter sports traditions and memories.
For as long as I can remember, the World Junior Hockey Championships have marked the holiday season. Historically beginning on Boxing Day, the World Juniors are like the Canadian equivalent of college football (in my completely unbiased and expert opinion) in terms of cultishness. The winters of my childhood spent with the World Juniors’ constant presence are what first exposed me to the Canada-Russia hockey rivalry, as they met often in the gold-medal throughout the 2000s, with each team winning their fair share of titles. I remember the 2015 tournament being one of the longest hockey games of my life. After Canada took the championship game over Russia in a nail-biting 5-4 decision, I rewatched it with my breath unheld. In recent years, the gap has opened and more and more nations are growing competitive, but the World Junior fervour in Canada will always be something extra special to me. Seeing young, talented guys enter the limelight and represent their country for the first time on one of hockey’s biggest stages is just so pure. Add in the holidays and it might even feel a little magical. — Rachel Ruecker, Sports Editor
BADGERS GAMES! My family’s from Wisconsin, and naturally, football’s a big part of our social culture. Plus, my dad has spent literally his entire life selling sports retail, so it’s safe to say we watched the games a little more than most. I went to my first Badgers game at the ripe age of three weeks old, tucked inside my mom’s huge windbreaker on a chilly November day (oh, those ‘90s vibes). I didn’t see much of the game, and I certainly don’t remember it, but I like to laugh thinking about the people my mom freaked out when a baby would poke its head out of a jacket that just looked like it was covering a bulky woman. Ever since, I’ve loved going to sporting events of all kinds, and the Badgers will always be my team. — Hailey Nuthals, Arts Editor
Every January break when I’m home from college, my best friends from high school and I get together early in the morning and go for a run. We follow an old 5K race loop that we used to run with our track team. Even though it’s freezing out and the run makes my insides feel like they’re on fire because of how out of shape I am, there’s nothing better than seeing my best friends and knowing that we can motivate each other. — Grace Halio, Deputy Managing Editor
When I was a kid, my family would go see the Everett Silvertips every New Year’s Eve. We’d bundle up, find a near impossible parking spot and spend way too much money on pretzels and drinks (non-alcoholic). There was something about spending the night with a bunch of drunken hockey-goers that was — while extremely scarring for little ones because nobody needs to see that — a great family outing, as sports are exciting at any age. We stopped going a while ago, however, because our family is too big and we can’t afford buying jerseys for my brothers every year, but it was fun while it lasted. — Anna Letson, Multimedia Editor
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Nov. 28 print edition. Email the Sports Desk at [email protected]