Sunday , 19 September 2021
Santa Claus (centre) poses for a photo with Aiden (left) and Lee (right) Barstad

Santa Claus visits the AG Ross

Tales from the Timebox: December 1st, 2020

The dreaded Scrooge, Covid 19 is at it again! This time it is really getting annoying. Trying to steal the Christmas spirt. Baaaahumbug!!  I for one do not plan on letting that happen. The minor hockey in St. Paul and Bonnyville County’s, along with the major cities was shut down completely on this past Friday. In fact, all sports in group settings got the axe. My grandson Bode ‘the Hound’ Bassett, a U11 hockey player from Camrose was coming to play three games in Bonnyville against the Lakeland Lightning team this past weekend. That was cancelled. So was my pickleball. So, I was very pouty about that.

Santa Claus visits the AG Ross

The last hockey practice for our Elk Point kids was on Thursday. Usually Santa pays a visit and will skate with the kids on the last practice before Christmas. Now what? Well, I made a call to the big guy and explained the situation. He said he was busier than heck getting things ready for the big day. But Santa certainly wasn’t going to let the kids down. So, he dropped everything up north, hooked up his reindeer and popped by at the U7 practice. Santa skated with them for about a half  a hour having a little fun playing half ice shinny.

At 4:30 the U9 team hit the ice and the U7 team were having so much fun they wanted to stay on the ice. But this U9 practice wasn’t just going to be all play time. The U9 head coach, Aaron Aarbo had a practice plan prepared and ready.  And Santa was certainly impressed with the coach’s drills.  Even more impressed with his patience with the youngest two groups. It was a fun practice, but the drills came first.

First up was what he called the chuckwagon race. Teams of two players, one from the U9 team and one from the U7 team hook their two sticks together like a harness. One skater pulling the other sitting flat on the ice like a bob sled. On the horn racing from one end of the rink to the other end. That’s about 180 feet one way. And then back again. Then after a few times the horses and drivers switch. What a great way to develop leg muscles.

The team with the Brousseau brothers, Hudson ‘the Bull’ and the little guy Cohen ‘Big Horn’ winning most of the heats by a nose over the St. Arnault brothers, Lennox ‘All Out’ and Landon ‘Lights Out’. But it took a photo finish to determine the winners. Ava ‘Little Angel’ Rawlake was also neck and neck  pulling in a close third place with Aspen ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly driving the rig. Stetson ‘Shack’ Reynolds, ‘Mount Everett’ Hahn, Jaydn ‘the Shark’ Sakowski, Grayson ‘Big Bang’ Koppang  and Tor ‘Tornado’ Aarbo all starting off strong, but having some mechanical problems half way through with their rigging and controlling their horses. They all finished in the middle of the pack.

One of the most impressive teams was when the younger U7 players were pulling. The brother and sister team, of Aiden ‘Bumble Bee’ Barstad  pulling her heavy brother ‘General Lee’ Barstad. This girl has a lot of will power and even though it was tough slugging Aiden ‘Sweet Pea’ didn’t stop until she crossed the finish line.  I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if Santa didn’t consider leaving his reindeer up on the arena roof and getting these guys to pull his sled home.

Another great drill at the practice was the relay race. Each team was divided up equally with the younger U7 and older U9 skaters. The players formed two lines at one end of the rink. At the whistle they had to push the puck on their stick from one end of the rink to the other end and back again. Then turn it over the next player in line.  This was another terrific drill to practice, good for controlling the puck and skating with your head up.

After the drills were done, the little guys were split evenly again for an all out non -stop game of shinny. It got a little hectic, everyone going for the puck at the same time and Santa trying to get in on the action was tripped up falling down two different times in the middle of the scrums. Each time a number of the little players like Kenzie Leathem coming over to help Santa up and making sure he was Ok.  She also made sure she to tell him what she wanted for Christmas.

(left to right) Aiden Barstad, Kenzie Leathem and Aspyn Kelly

Santa also had to help the little guys trying to reach their water bottles up on the boards. He helped squirt water into their mouths, like little Raiden Savadra who seemed to be a regular at the bench. One of the U 7 players, Thomas ‘the  Tank’ Morris, after going through a couple of the defence man and scoring came up to Santa and said “That’s how you do it Santa!” Making the fat man’s hold his stomach as he chuckled ‘’Ho, Ho Ho’  At the end of practice Santa promised to be back, at a practice if it happens before Christmas and on Christmas Eve for sure. So be good……because Santa is watching.


K.A. Campbell quote of the week. “That’s what hockey is  all about. Deck or be decked.” – Eric Lindros

About Doug Bassett

As Elk Point's resident sportshound, Doug Bassett has been actively involved in the local sports scene for over 30 years. He's been writing sports reports on local amateur sports starts for 20 years. Down-to-earth honest sports reporting, Doug will bring you updates on the sports that matter the most; your kids! Known for giving every kid on the team a unique nickname and highlighting their attributes, Doug will make sure you're up-to-date with scores, games, and locker room antics!