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Griffins Features


Dec. 21, 2010

by Kyle Kujawa -

Life around the holidays is different for a hockey player. With the season in full swing and games so close to Christmas, players get limited time away from the rink. But despite the short break, the Christmas spirit still burns bright within the Griffins players.

What is the best part about Christmas?

Family get-togethers. I like Christmas songs, I like the whole spirit. When you get into the Christmas spirit, I like that energy. - Aaron Downey

Getting together with friends and family, and just having a chance to relax and catch up. I think that's the best part, just seeing people you haven't seen in a while. - Logan Pyett

Family. And having a few days off with no games. - Bob Kaser

The Christmas spirit. Everything is lit up outside. I like the 25th and the presents. Normally my whole family gets together, but my family is not here so I'm going to spend it with my girlfriend's family. It's always fun. - Jan Mursak

Getting to be with your family and friends. We always have such a short break in hockey so it's nice to get home. For me personally, we're going home (to Winnipeg) this year and flying back. It's a quick turnaround, but it's always nice to see your friends and family, so it's worth it. - Derek Meech

What's your favorite holiday hockey memory?

I think it was the tournaments. We'd always have some sort of tournament over the Christmas holidays, and you'd always get to go away. It was awesome, getting to spend time with your buddies and your family at the same time. It was always a lot of fun. - Jamie Johnson

When I was in college (at Michigan Tech), every Christmas we'd go play in the Great Lakes Invitational tournament at Joe Louis Arena. That was always a lot of fun – everybody's family was there, so that was a good Christmas memory. - Greg Amadio

When we were in the World Junior Championships two years ago with Slovakia. We finished fourth. It was right around Christmas, so it was a very good gift for me. - Tomas Tatar

Playing in the World Juniors around Christmas time was awesome. Just having my family overseas (in the Czech Republic) with me and spending Christmas with my teammates before we won the gold. That was a Christmas I'll never forget. - Logan Pyett

What's your favorite Christmas song?

Anything by Nat King Cole, I like him. - Derek Meech

Jingle Bells. I don't know, I'm not really into Christmas music. - Greg Amadio

I'd say Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. - Aaron Downey

I don't know what many Christmas songs are called in the States, but there are a few I like back home in that are in Slovenian. - Jan Mursak

White Christmas. - Bob Kaser

What's your favorite Christmas food?

I like the traditional big meal – turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. I love eating that every year. – Logan Pyett

It's like a potato salad, but it's made at home, so I don't know what it's called here. - Tomas Tatar

Pizza. The festive pizza. - Bob Kaser

Oh, I have a lot on my list for that. I really like to dabble in all kinds of appetizers. But, I think the Christmas day meal is usually the best, where you have hash browns, cheese, eggs, and everything in the morning. It's great to just stuff yourself, I love it. - Derek Meech

That would have to be lingunie and the marinara sauce that my Nana  makes every Christmas. That's what I look forward to. - Greg Amadio

Do you have any special traditions that aren't in the United States?

(In Slovakia) we have a little different thing than you do here. We give our gifts after the dinner (on the 24th), not like you do here the next morning. That's special for European Christmas. - Tomas Tatar

(In Slovenia) We open the gifts on the 24th at night before we go to bed after dinner. Then on the 25th we go around and spend time with the bigger side of the family. We go see my uncles and cousins and exchange little gifts with them, too. Normally on the 24th in the afternoon just the close family has dinner together and hangs out. - Jan Mursak

What is the best gift you've ever received?

In 1997, I got a Nintendo-64, I was 9. That's one that I remember I was really excited about, getting that Nintendo 64. - Logan Pyett

Last year, I got an early Christmas gift from my girlfriend. It was a puppy. I think that's the best gift I ever got, but I appreciate everything. - Jan Mursak

I think it was the fourth place in the World Juniors, that was the best gift for me for sure. - Tomas Tatar

Probably a GT Snow Racer. It was a toboggan, I got it when I was younger. - Jamie Johnson

One year I got a GT Snow Racer. Me, my brother, and my sister all got one. It was probably the best gift I ever got. - Greg Amadio

The gift of friendship. Seriously, it's the best gift you could ever ask for. Other than that I think the best gift I ever got was a snow mobile though, and then we smashed it up on the same day. - Aaron Downey

What's the best gift you've ever given somebody?

Best gift I've ever given? Probably my friendship. - Aaron Downey

I would say just my presence at Christmas time is a pretty good gift, since I have not been home in a few years. - Greg Amadio

I got my mom golf clubs last year, that one is fresh in my memory. She was pretty happy to get a new set of golf clubs. I enjoyed giving her that because she usually doesn't want much, so she was really happy. - Logan Pyett

I'd have to say an engagement to my wife on Christmas last year, that was a pretty good one. - Derek Meech

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