In addition to this blog, I am also an aspiring author and general creative-type, and every year for the past 10 years I have been making somewhat elaborate Christmas cards for my friends and family. Two years ago it got a little out of hand when I decided to write a short Christmas-themed picture book, and this year I've written a sequel, only this time I've paired up Christmas with hockey, specifically my beloved L.A. Kings.
If you like the Kings, hockey, Christmas, or just a heartfelt story to celebrate the season, please read on. And if you enjoy the book, there is a link at the bottom to the original story, A Simple Christmas Wish, which is available for $2.99 as an e-book on Amazon (positive reviews are always appreciated! and if you don't wanna shell out the $2.99, DM me on Twitter and I'll email you a .pdf of the original) I am trying to find a publisher for the original too, so if you like either of them and know anyone in the publishing industry who might be interested in getting a great book out for the holidays next year, please send them a link.
Thanks, everybody, and Merry Christmas!
Jack burst through the front door, his mother trailing behind as she dropped him off with his father Derek.
“Daddy, Daddy! Look what Mom bought me!” Jack excitedly showed off the new cap adorning his head. “It’s a Mighty Ducks hat!”
“Um, that’s great, pal.” Derek was not particularly enthused to see what his son was wearing. “Why don’t you go play while Daddy talks to your mother for a little while?”
“Okay, Dad! I can’t wait to wear this to the game at Dodger Stadium!”
Nonplussed, Derek looked to his ex-wife. “Dodger Stadium? A Ducks hat? What in the world is going on, Dolores? Did you tell him I’m taking him to the game?”
Derek plopped himself down on the couch in frustration. “I would love to but I can’t afford tickets to the game, much less to travel all the way to L.A.! Why would you tell him that without asking me first?”
“When I heard they were playing an outdoor game down there I just assumed you were gonna go. Sorry.”
“Well, Dolores, you’re gonna have to tell him we’re not going. I’m not breaking his heart on this one!”
“You want me to tell him you’re a deadbeat?” Dolores retorted.
“Whatever. I’ll do it. But seriously, a Ducks hat? Why a Ducks hat? Are you trying to poison the boy against me?”
“Is that not who you cheer for?”
Derek pointed animatedly at the Los Angeles Kings crest on his sweater. “Does this look like a Duck?” We’re Kings fans, and you know it, Dolores!”
A few nights later, Jack found his dad watching television. It was a hockey game, and the Kings and the Ducks were playing. “Oh, can I watch with you?”
Derek made sure Jack had finished his homework before giving his assent, but let him know he was going to have to go to bed before the game would be over.
“What’s the score, Daddy?”
“They’re tied, the third period’s about to start.”
Within just a few minutes of Jack sitting down the Ducks scored to take the lead.
Derek groaned, and in frustration handed the remote control to his son and walked away.
But just a few minutes later, he ran back into the room when he heard Bob Miller’s elated voice announce a Kings goal tying the game.
“Sweet, a brand new hockey game! Still anybody’s to win!”
“Can I stay up and watch the rest of the game with you, Daddy?”
“Sure, pal.” Derek sat back down and Jack curled up next to him. “Hey, did you finish your list for Santa yet?”
“Well, why don’t you let me have a look at it before we send it up to the North Pole?”
“Ok, I’ll go get it.”
When Jack returned, Derek scoured the list he brought with him.
“A Mighty Ducks jersey? What about the Jonathan Quick jersey I got you for your birthday?”
“I like the Ducks now. Their jersey is cool!”
“Ok, well we’ll see if Santa can find one.”
“He doesn’t have to find it.”
“Of course not. The elves can make one, silly!”
Derek couldn’t resist chuckling as he squeezed his boy close to him.
“Let’s see, what else is on here? Hockey lessons, huh? Well, we don’t have to wait for Santa for that one. I can show you how to play hockey!”
“You bet! We’ll go out tomorrow morning, pal.”
Derek and Jack spent Christmas morning with Derek’s parents. Jack was so excited when he found his Ducks jersey under the tree, even if it didn’t have a Donald Duck goalie mask.
“Can I wear this to the outdoor game with my hat, Daddy?”
Derek’s stomach dropped and a lump formed in his throat.
“Umm, there’s something I need to tell you about the outdoor game, pal. I could–“
His father interrupted the confession to his son, “Derek, you didn’t open this present yet,” he said, placing a large box at his boy’s feet.
“Um, Dad, I was in the middle of something.”
“Open the present, son.”
“Fine. I’ll open the present.” Looking at Jack and the glee on his face as he slipped the Ducks jersey over his head, he forced a smile. “Thank you.”
Inside the box, Derek found another wrapped box.
“What’s going on, Dad?”
His father played dumb, shrugging. “I don’t know what Santa’s elves were up to this year. Go ahead and open it.”
Inside, he found another gift.
Grandma and grandpa could barely contain their anticipation as Derek opened the third wrapped box.
And they exploded in cheering as Derek opened it to reveal a pair of tickets to the outdoor NHL game at Dodger Stadium between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks!
“Are you kidding me? You got us tickets?”
“And airfare. And one for me too,” grandpa proclaimed. “We’re all gonna go!”
“This is the greatest Christmas present ever! Thank you so much!”
Derek jumped to his feet and embraced his parents and his son all together, the whole family joyously celebrating.
About a month later, the three of them boarded a flight together to Los Angeles.
As it got closer to game day, Derek was silently lamenting that during this once-in-a-lifetime experience, his own son was going to be wearing the enemy’s colors, in a jersey he himself had in fact purchased.
On the day of the big game, Derek went to see a few old friends beforehand and asked his father to get Jack ready, saying he would meet the two of them at the front gate in time to watch the pre-game skate.
A few hours later, dressed in his favorite Luc Robitaille jersey and his Kings’ 2012 Stanley Cup champions cap, Derek walked up to the entryway at Dodger Stadium to meet his dad and son for the game, but he was not ready for what greeted him.
Jack was wearing not his fancy new Ducks sweater, but the Kings sweater Derek had given him for his birthday.
“What’s this? Dad, did you make him wear that?”
“Nope, this was all him.”
“I like my Ducks jersey, Daddy, but I like my Kings one too. And I wanted to look like you and Grandpa.”
“Aww, pal, you’re the best son ever, but you can cheer for whoever you want.”
“I just wanna see hockey, Daddy.”
Derek smiled, feeling lucky to have such a great child.
He hoisted Jack on his shoulders and they all went in to join the crowd for the amazing experience of outdoor hockey in Southern California.