The Ice Queens are ready for the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The last games of the first part of the championship are finished, the suitcases and bags are already packed. The scene of the family home is flashing in the air. We can already feel the well-known scent of baked cookies with almonds and cinnamon, as well as we can hear the shuffiing of festively decorated gifts under the Christmas tree. Yes, holidays are here, and we’ve been wondering, how they are celebrated in the world of women’s hockey?
FINLAND – A CHRISTMAS CALENDAR
There is a tradition in our club to have a Christmas calendar. During December, every other day, a different female hockey player is represented on our FB page and Instagram profile. Of course, this is not an ordinary presentation – every girl gets a short, cute story and special Christmas look, as you can see on the photos. For those who want to find out more about our tradition, let them take a look on the FB profile Blue Espoo Naiset, or on Instagram bluenaiset – says Emma Terho, the Olympic bronze winner in ice hockey from Finland.
CANADA – SECRET SANTA, AN UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER AND A GINGERBREAD HOUSE
The last four years my team has always returned to school the day after Christmas, which is still a holiday for Canadians. So, to celebrate, we hold our own “Secret Santa” gift exchange, where each girl on the team receives a gift anonymously. After opening it, the receiver has to guess which one of her teammates gave it to her. The gifts are always personal and very funny. We also watch the start of the IIHF World Juniors U-20 Boys Hockey Championship. Of course, there is always a big rivalry between the Canadians and Americans on the team. – these are the words of Canadian Krista Yip-Chuck, a former Yale team captain, and the future member of the Latvian women’s ice hockey national team. .
On my team in Canada (Western University), we usually have a dinner, and everyone wears an ugly Christmas sweater. Then we would have a gingerbread house competition, and then do a gift exchange, either doing a secret Santa style or we played a gift stealing game. It was always very funny, and we really liked those parties.
SERBIA – DELICIOUS FOOD AND SANTA ON SKATES
In our club (HK Vojvodina), we celebrate Christmas and New year holidays at once. – says the mother of two young sisters hockey players, Tamara and Jana Radović. The youth (girls and boys), their parents and family members, coaches and senior players, we are all invited to the ice rink. Everyone of us brings something to eat and drink, mothers make some pies and cakes for everyone to share. Last year all the kids got symbolic presents from Santa on skates, knitted boots with candies inside. We also had an exhibition Christmas game.
PHILIPPINES – CHRISTMAS PARTY IN A RESTAURANT
In Philippines it is very warm in this part of the year: the normal temperature is about 34oC. We have a Christmas party with all Federation members, youth, female and male players, and parents. Our president owns a restaurant where all our events are typically hosted, including the Christmas party this year. – says Danielle Sabido Imperial, the captain of the Philippines national women’s ice hockey team. Everyone is free to sit where they want, and people usually give around gifts. After the dinner, we move to a bar connected to the restaurant where we can hear speeches from Federations officials and team members. The atmosphere is relaxing, and we enjoy being together.
SLOVAKIA – SECRET SANTA AND EXIBITION CHRISTMAS GAME
Every year for Christmas we do secret Santa, and we really enjoy the gifts excange. This Christmas I got two sweat coffee mugs, as I am a BIG coffee lover. We play an exhibition Christmas game with boys as well, against each other. After that, we have a Christmas dinner together. It’s very nice to spend entire day in “Christmas hockey” atmosphere , get presents, and have fun as well . – says Lenka Čurmova, a member of the Slovakian national women’s ice hockey team.
SOUTH AFRICAN REPUBLIC – A SPECIAL CHRISTMAS SURPRISE
In my country, December is like your summer vacation, the longest holiday of the year. So, hockey players usually do not celebrate together Christmas. But we did it with our national women’s senior team, on the Qualification tournament in Bulgaria this year.
Our managers surprised us before our last game again Belgium – says Dalene Rhode, a member of the national women’s team of the South African Republic. We had a Christmas party on tour, where our managers planned an amazing evening for the last day. There was secret Santa, and it was so much fun. We all had Christmas headwear, and decorated tables, with some good Christmas music.
UKRAINE – PRESENTS, FUNNY GAMES, BARBEQUE AND HOCKEY
We celebrate Christmas and New Year, as well as other holidays, with the team, like a family. We gather together and get the presents for our kids, play funny games, enjoy barbeque party and play hockey as well. Every year before the New Year’s eve, we organize a special holiday hockey game. We have fun on ice, we enjoy being together, and congratulate each other upcoming holidays, with the best wishes for the future.