SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

December 27, 2012

Kick Saves: 'Tis the season for hockey related gift giving

(Continued)

“Emily Hudak gave me my own whistle with my initials engraved on it,” Bradley said. “That was awesome.”

Pingree’s Jillian Witwicki got her first pair of skates from her parents when she was just three years old. Like most toddlers, she wanted to try out her new gift right away and a tradition was born.

“I was so eager to get outside and play that we didn’t open any more presents and the whole Witwicki family headed to our outdoor rink to play. From that day on we have a family pond hockey game every Christmas morning,” said Witwicki, who lives in Danvers.

Family was a big factor for Beverly senior Livvy Konaxis, who comes from a long line of Beverly High hockey players.

“We played pond hockey in our neighborhood on Christmas Day,” said Konaxis. “I had never played on a team with my older sister Rachel because I was too young and had never played with my brother Jake, so to play with them was a great gift and very memorable.”

Easily the most unique gift story came from Beverly junior Nicole Woods, whose family lived in Montreal for part of her life.

“When I was seven, my dad worked at the airport and became friends with most of the Canadiens players as they passed through customs. We got a Christmas card of Sheldn Souray’s family,” Woods recalled. “Also, that year Santa brought us six weeks worth of Saturday night Canadiens tickets.”

I don’t know if its the frosty temperature, the joy of the season or some combination of both, but whatever the reason hockey and the holidays fit together perfectly. Here’s hoping there was something memorable — and hockey related — under your tree earlier this week.

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There aren’t many girls hockey games over the holiday break. Masconomet (2-0) is playing Gardner on Saturday coming off a 10-day break that was extended because a game had to be rescheduled. Red hot Beverly (4-0, outscoring opponents 34-3) is finished until 2013, when they face Wintrop on Jan 2.

Marblehead (3-1) will visit Masco is a marquee local match-up on New Year’s Eve. The puck drops at noon up at Gloucester’s Talbot Rink and it should be a great take before the end of 2012 festivities begin.

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Kick Saves, a column on North Shore girls hockey, appears in The Salem News every other Thursday. Contact assistant sports editor Matt Williams at MWilliams@salemnews.com, 978-338-2669 and follow him on Twitter @Matt Williams_SN.

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