Ode to the World Juniors: ‘Twas the Day After Christmas


‘Twas the day after Christmas, and on TSN

The World Juniors were starting, it was that time again;

Along the bluelines, players stood with passion in their eyes,

Hoping that within ten days, they’d be hoisting the prize;

The pundits have bantered for weeks upon days,

If we will see in young Matthews, what we saw in Crosby and Toews;

And McKenzie, with his astute glasses and thick Windsor knot,

Will remind us that pool A is strong and it’s anybody’s pot;

Dreger will chime in that it’s Canada’s tournament to lose,

And if you think any different, you’ve had too much booze;

Russia looks good, so do the Swedes and the Fins,

There’s so much at stake and it’s all about wins;

The Czechs are strong, as are the Slovaks and Swiss,

And with the Canucks and Yanks, you really can’t miss;

Come Boxing Day all the teams will dig in,

It’s the best time of the year.  Let the battle begin;

With their flag on their chest and pride in their heart,

Bitter mid-season rivals unite to play a part;

Scorers become grinders, egos are checked at the door,

Everyone buys in, because winning means more;

Some of hockey’s most vivid memories happened at the WJCs,

Jason Botterill’s three golds and the punchup in ol’ Piestany;

It’s where legends are born and heros are crowned,

Where careers take their turns and diamonds are found;

It’s not the Olympics, they’re young and have dreams,

There are no big contracts, or brow-furrowed NHL teams;

There’s something more to prove on this world stage,

It’s the culmination of dreams, the start of a new page;

There’s no fear of injury, fatigue or stress,

These kids live for this, a chance to impress;

From the horns and the cowbells, to the face paint and flags,

The last team standing will be the one with third-period legs;

It’s the will of a country that puts gold around necks,

Pride in the faceoff circle and finishing checks;

From Gretzky to Lindros, Crosby to Doughty,

From the first puck drop, it’s going to get rowdy;

So on Boxing Day, grab a hot coffee and turn on the TV,

And settle in for what we wait eagerly all year to see;

Lean into the shots, the hits, and the saves,

Because it’s the road to glory, that enthusiasm paves;

When the final horn sounds and gloves fill the air,

You can feel a part of the elation or despair;

It is for your country’s pride that these young kids make their stand,

Their passion unites us from coast to coast, across the land.

Whether they win or they lose, we all stand to gain,

Because at the end of the day, it’s still Canada’s game.

The chanting sea of red and white is the greatest sight,

Happy World Juniors to all, and to all a good night!

Jamie McKinven
Author / Blogger at glassandout.com
Jamie McKinven, author of “So You Want Your Kid to Play Pro Hockey?” and “Tales from the Bus Leagues,” is a former professional hockey player who played in the NCAA, ECHL, CHL and Europe.

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