If there was one consistent theme about fond Christmas memories for a couple of Philadelphia Flyers, it revolved around — shocker — hockey.
Matt Read, Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier all recalled their boyhood days growing up in Canada after a recent home game. And not surprisingly, hockey gifts came up a lot.
“I just loved waking up that morning and my parents always made sure I had something hockey-wise,” Simmonds said. “I remember one Christmas I woke up and it was unreal. I got a Synergy (hockey stick) for Christmas. The next year I got a net. So it was always something like that. It always left a lasting memory.”
“One year I got a pair of skates and a stick,” said Read. “I was the second child so I always got the hand-me-downs. When I got that I was happy to get my own first pair of skates.”
While hockey-related gifts dominated their childhood memories, of course they weren’t the only ones. Most of the memories were of spending quality time with their families and enjoying the special moments as kids.
For Read, he admitted he was every parent’s worst nightmare on Christmas morning.
“I know my mom and dad hated it but I was one of those kids that woke up at 4 in the morning and was jumping on their bed telling them to wake up so we could open presents,” he said. “They were always like, ‘Go back to bed.’ They would always say wait until at least 6:30. I had trouble even doing that.”
Couturier didn’t always get the opportunity to spend Christmas with both of his parents.
“My dad played pro hockey as well so he was away from the family for most of the Christmases,” Couturier said. “I just loved being with my parents, friends and family. They were great times.”
As adults, the day is obviously different now.
“Now that you are older you kind of miss waking up and being with your family, opening presents, eating breakfast and enjoying each other,” Read said. “That is something as you get older you miss a lot.”
Some traditions are hard to break, though.
“I was always an open presents on Christmas Eve kid and I still am,” Couturier said. “My mother wanted us to wait but my dad was the same way as me and couldn’t wait to give us our presents.”
It didn’t matter when he opened them because Couturier usually already knew what was under the tree. Like most kids, he was a snooper around the house hoping to get a sneak preview.
“Growing up I was always looking in the closets and trying to find the presents for sure,” he said with a sheepish grin. “I got a lot of great presents growing up, but the best ones always seemed to do with hockey.”