Face-Off With Spracks #5 Happy Holidays




Hockey senior forward Chris Spracklen will once again provide an insiders' look at the Army hockey program. A center from Kennewick, Wash., Spracklen will share his insights, introduce teammates, provide a glimpse into life on the road and much more for the second consecutive season, continuing the long tradition of Army hockey diaries. Click here to read Spracklen's biography.

December 22, 2010

As I’m sure I mentioned last year, Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  Despite the holidays meaning that finals are coming up, I love it all - Christmas lights, trees, eggnog, presents galore, and of course it means that we are right in the middle of hockey season.

This is what we consider the “halfway point” of our season, but shortly after Christmas we have some great games against the Russian Junior National Team, Merrimack and a tournament in Vermont where we will play Harvard and Ohio State.  Since the season takes quite a toll on us, we are all ready to take a little break to let our bodies recover and get our heads away from school for a bit.  

Christmas can be a stressful time of the year, however.  I usually tend to carefully juggle my girlfriend’s schedule around Christmas time to minimize my gift giving commitment.  Don’t get me wrong, I love giving gifts, but I am a terrible shopper so I try to avoid the humiliation and the headache.  What happens if I give them a lame gift?  They’ll tell all their friends and I’ll look like a moron, that’s what happens.   I have bought one successful Christmas gift in my 24-year career – I’m not a mathematician, but I think that’s a pretty pathetic success rate.  Although it is a pretty risky strategy, it is nowhere near as torturous as trying to pick out the perfect gift while fighting through the hordes of equally stressed Christmas shoppers.

Anyway, one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is all the great movies.  There are some absolute classics out there - you know, the movies you could watch over and over and never get tired of.  However, I happen to think that there are quite a few similarities between the Army Hockey guys and many of the Christmas characters out there –both movie characters as well as the staples that go along with the holiday theme.  This is how I think some of the guys fit into the Christmas season:

Bret Larson reminds me of Will Farrell as ‘Buddy the Elf’ in “Elf.”  Nicest guy in the world, but absolutely out to lunch, if you know what I mean.

Mike Henderson shares many of the same characteristics as Tim Allen did in the Christmas classic “The Santa Clause” – Every morning he wakes up with a beard and a gut…

Jack Barnes is just like Clark Griswold’s cousin Eddie in “Christmas Vacation” - always hitching a ride with someone and he is an expert at receiving gifts.

The rook of all rooks, Brian Schultz, I’m pretty sure is actually Macaulay Culkin in “Home Alone”- He still looks like he is in middle school, plus if I was his parents I would have left him at home a lot too.   However, this is actually a compliment because everybody wanted to be Kevin McCallister back in the day…don’t tell me you didn’t!

Cody Ikkala is Buzz from “Home Alone” – Still has his BB gun, pictures of his girlfriend, and his dad’s old magazines in his trunk at school…..true story. 

To carry on with the “Home Alone” theme, John Clark and Cheyne Rocha play the “Wet Bandits” (Marv and Harry) for no reason other than one is short and the other is tall and skinny.  

Mike Santee is honored with representing Charlie Brown - Someone pulled the football out from underneath him one too many times.

Pat Ryan is our good friend Rudolph – Just needs to put his head down and he’ll light up the sky for miles...

McRae resembles Schwarzenegger in “Jingle All the Way”.  He is such a big guy…yet so nice.  He likes to chase around little guys too.  He also reminds me of my dog…not just in looks, but because my dog chases squirrels religiously, with a 99% failure rate.  As soon as he catches one he’s so surprised that he doesn’t know what to do with it and just walks away.  I think this is how McRae feels when he catches Maggard too.

Andy Starczewski is Frosty the Snowman – He’s a jolly happy soul ….and he usually stays stationary on the ice (backdoor waiting for a one-timer), but more of a jolly happy soul than anything else.

Tom Doran is Tom Hanks from “Polar express”- Tom Hanks did everything in that movie, kinda like TD.  However, since it is the season of giving I think TD could put a couple of the brand new sticks labeled “Spracks” in the stall labeled “16.”  That’s what Tom Hanks would have done…

My good friend Kyle Maggard was actually an actor in the blockbuster hit “Bad Santa.”  Mags played Billy Bob’s adopted son Thurman Merman  – “You guys want some sandwiches”

Jon Bobb is kind of like the Grinch -  Always scheming…hide your valuables. 

Drew Pierson is the closest I could come to Santa, minus having a gut.  He is always in a good mood, he decides who has been naughty and who has been nice, then delivers gifts accordingly.  Pierson also knows almost everybody in the world, so this just makes sense…

Jay Clark plays our good friend baby Jesus…in fact I think he just represents the whole nativity scene.  Great guy, and one we want on our side.

Cody Omilusik should be the head elf.  He is an inch or two above the height cut-off, but he is really a kid at heart and just wants to play with all the toys in the workshop. 

I know I usually give the guys a pretty tough time in my diaries, but the truth is it’s all in good fun and there isn’t a guy on the team I wouldn’t defend like my brother.   In the end, I definitely take my fair share of verbal beatings in the locker room as well, so I don’t really feel so bad about the whole thing. 

Lastly I need to talk about the two rooks I failed to introduce.

Dax Lauwers is a beast of a defenseman from Anchorage, Alaska.  He has been a huge physical presence on the ice for us this year and will undoubtedly be a fan favorite in the years to come.   His dream is to be on the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” as he spends his time at home fishing for Sockeye Salmon in Bristol Bay.  He claims it is quote, “The Best Job Ever.”  If I ever want to take my car for a spin I usually just ask Dax if I can borrow it, as he usually has my keys stashed somewhere. 

Anthony Cadieux is our rookie goaltender from New Hartford, New York.  Cads is the biggest goalie I have ever seen.  I think he is the biggest goalie to ever play the game actually.  He is a great kid with a great attitude and also he has a phenomenal shot.   He can launch the puck – not an easy task for a goalie to do.  He will be a great goalie for us in the years to come as long as he doesn’t have to declare bankruptcy from being maxed out in every kangaroo court since the beginning of the season. 

I would like to wish the boys, the staff, and all the fans a Merry Christmas and happy New Year.  I also hope Josh Kassel had a wonderful Hanukkah and eight crazy nights. 

See you soon for our next home game, December 28 at Tate Rink against the Russian Junior National Team.

#16

Previous Entries

Friday, Oct. 1
Thursday, Oct. 21
Monday, Dec. 13
Wednesday, Dec. 22

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