Christmas is a season of reflection and reminders that there is still some good in this crazy world we live in. The season can bring back some great memories of growing up and the thrill of getting that perfect gift under the tree on Christmas morning.

There was the anticipation of seeing what Santa had left and the tradition of hearing Christmas carols and reading the story of the birth of Jesus. There are school plays, church programs, candlelight services, parties, family get-togethers, and the inevitable ugly Christmas sweater day at work.

For most of us, though, there is some hockey mixed in along the way as we approach the most wonderful time of the year.

Hockey has long been a sport of giving.

When your team is handed a Cup to raise for all to see.

When you’re given a breakaway shorthanded goal when you’re down one late in the third.

When you’re given the chance to chirp your rival team’s fans.

When you’re given a great fight…you get the drift.

But, hockey has given us so much more. For me, it has given my family an identity. We are hockey. Our conversations revolve around it. Our apparel selection is an eclectic array of Mavericks, Blues, Flyers, and Penguins hats, scarves, coats, backpacks, and shirts with one Blue Jackets hat mixed in.

My five-year-old son can rattle off the entire St. Louis Blues roster from 2012, 2014, and 2017 due to playing so much NHL on the Playstation. He can rattle off the names and numbers of the Kansas City Mavericks roster on demand. In fact, as I wrote this, he is downstairs re-watching the Mavericks game versus Kalamazoo from a few weeks ago and the Mason McDonald goalie fight is on!!!

My oldest son can tell you that enough icing calls will get you a free coupon from Carrabas and we all know that six goals will get you burgers from Backyard Burgers. My wife has embraced this sport and it gives us all something to smile about as it brings my family together. Folks don’t quite understand the obsession, but we have our hockey family and we love it.

For others, it carries just as much meaning.

“It’s given me a point of connection with my two adult sons. Even when they are busy with their own lives, they always have time to talk hockey and cheer on the Mavs with the old man.” –Jeff Wayman (Mavericks fan)

“Without the @kc_mavericks I would never have met some of my very best friends and several extraordinary people.” –Mary Ann Gormly (Mavericks fan)

“Hockey has given me friendships that go to another level of camaraderie and an enhanced variety of wardrobe attire. Thankful for my buddy for getting me back into it.” –AJ Cobb (Fan of hockey!)

“Hockey has given me a chance to hopefully leave this world a little better off through my foundation and to meet many great people who I might not have otherwise known.” –Bob Klem (founder of Have a Skate with Bob and Mavericks fan)

“Hockey has meant more than the game itself. I can’t tell you the number of times I have used the player’s numbers to explain a math concept or used them to get the class writing. I won’t forget the time my class was given tickets to a game because they wrote letters explaining their drawings.” –Sara Fox (Mavericks fan and teacher)

It’s humbling to see how a simple game can mean so much to so many. But, that’s the beauty of the game we love. It always gives back more than we deserve. Even for those in the business of hockey, it can carry great meaning…and injury…and the occasional chirp.

“A job.” –Brandon Weiss  (Mavericks Director of Communication, Pittsburgh Penguins fan)

“A detached retina, broken ribs, busted nose, broken ankles, broken fingers…and like @WeissBrandon1 said… a JOB!” –Jared Reid (Mavericks Director of Ticket Sales, retired minor league hockey official, Detroit Red Wings fan)

“Also hockey let @reid1js watch my boys skate around 35 lbs of silver in his hometown.” -Weiss with the chirp about the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals.

For those of us here at The Sin Bin, it gives us a chance to connect with each other and our respective audiences and fan bases in a conversational way over something that we are all so passionate about.

“(The) ability to cover a sport I love with first-class people.” –Matthew Harding (Managing Editor of thesinbin.net, Wichita Thunder insider)

That really sums up how all of us here at the Sin Bin feel this holiday season. We have an incredible platform to connect with you, the fan, on a daily basis and bring you information and analysis about what you care about. We recently celebrated our 1,000,000th visitor to thesinbin.net. That doesn’t happen without each and every one of you, but more importantly, that doesn’t happen without hockey.

So, in the season of giving, I encourage each of you to give the gift of hockey to someone. Maybe it’s grabbing an extra twig at your favorite sporting goods store and putting it in a toy drive bin. Maybe it’s grabbing an extra ticket or two to a game and bringing someone who otherwise couldn’t go. Maybe it’s donating to Have a Skate with Bob or Hockey Fights Cancer. The sport has given us so much, let’s pay it forward to someone else.

Merry Christmas from all of us at The Sin Bin!

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