Few things in life are as endearing and indelible, as the look in a child’s eyes, the moment before they are allowed into the sacred area of Santa’s workshop. As they stand outside the door, awaiting entry to that sacred cubby - fresh, clean, cold, country air, caused their breath to steam and their little nostrils to run. They smiled, laughed and played, oblivious to the constant wiping of their noses on their little mitts, so that Santa wouldn’t notice.
The little brothers and sisters of the 01 Marlboros were so enamored with the idea of sitting in Santa’s lap, telling the big man in the red suite with the jolly belly, snow white beard, and wise all-knowing eyes, that none of them realized they had waited for over an hour, in the freezing cold! On that day, their only care in the world was that special time when they could sit in Santa’s lap, and tell Santa about everything they wished to receive for Christmas.
Their big brothers, all very hard working hockey players, shared several laughs, a lot of inside jokes, stories of past plays, and a lot of good natured ribbing! It is a rare time to see these players together, away from the rink; just allowing themselves to be together in the true spirit of brotherhood and a real enjoyment of each other’s company!
This was not a time for hockey. This was not a time to be competitive. This was not a time to give consideration to the preparation for the next hockey challenge. This was a time for the 01 Marlboros family, to come together in a spirit that transcends the concept of the word “team;” to take the friendships that have grown so beautifully, since April, to the next level.
Although there was no formal ceremony or suggestion of “giving thanks for all that was good and great, about this 01 Toronto Marlboros family,” the spirit of cooperation and good will; where everyone pitched in to bring food, water, coffee, tea, desserts, and so much more, was unspoken, but very obvious.
Christmas is a time for caring and sharing, a time for giving and receiving, and it is also a time for reflection and resolution. It is a time when children ask for and usually receive the rewards of being good all year. It is a time when parents bond with those they wish they could spend more time with. It is also a time when the players on the 2001 Toronto Marlboros get to relax their hockey persona’s, and just let loose, in the spirit of just having fun and “being kids!”
Most important, Christmas is a time when it becomes clear that the greatest gift of being a part of team, is like being a part of a truly great family. Memories will be shared. Future memories will be created. The memories of Christmas 2014, along with the steaming hot chocolate, delicious food, and the pine scented smells of a day spent together at Nottawasaga, will forever be treasured.