Mike Fraser, a veteran WHL scout who now works for the Brandon Wheat Kings, also dabbles in writing. For starters, he writes a weekly column for the Westman Journal, a Brandon-based newspaper.
Ten years ago, while he was in a full-time stint with the Journal, he re-did ’Twas the Night Before Christmas with a Brandon sporting scene flavour.
A year ago, as he explains, “In the spirit of the holiday season and while preparing for another scouting venture that was to begin on Christmas evening, I did it again, this time dubbing it ‘A Scout’s Night Before Christmas.’ “
Fraser continues: “The piece managed to be picked up and posted to a handful of websites and blogs. And while the scouting schedule for me this year has changed during the Christmas break, I’ve decided to revive the piece for one last run.
“So without further ado and with refurbished and modified lyrics, I present to you: A Scout’s Night Before Christmas, Version 2.0 . . .”
’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the rink. . .
Not a parent was whining, or raising a stink.
The sticks were all packed on the bus with care. . .
The scouts were at home instead of hotel beds. . .
While visions of a championship danced in their heads.
A look at the schedule and what do I see?
So many tournaments to choose from, for me.
When on the TV there arose some chatter. . .
‘Bout the World Juniors and other facts of that matter.
I grabbed the remote and stood up with a flash. . .
As I listened to them preview the upcoming clash.
The moon overhead of my one-bedroom condo. . .
Glowed upon the illegally-parked vehicles below.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear. . .
No Mac’s tournament for me, I’m staying home this year!
No worries of highways being icy and slick. . .
Instead to West Edmonton, a tournament — easy and quick.
More rapid than eagles my scouting notes were packed. . .
Time to dress extra warm, it’s cold and that’s a fact:
A sweater, some socks, a jacket and a hat . . .
Some pants and — oh yes, long johns — now don’t forget that!
To Callingwood Arena near West Edmonton Mall. . .
Now dash away, before traffic comes to a crawl.
As I head out the door and am ready to fly. . .
I pause for a moment to look up at the sky.
A trip across town, well that’s nothing new. . .
Because driving is what most WHL scouts do.
I start-up my vehicle then head back under my roof. . .
For one last Christmas cookie and a quick little hoof.
Then it’s off to Starbucks, there are plenty around. . .
I need a warm drink for a journey across town.
Dressed in warm garb from my head to my feet. . .
And some satellite radio kicking out a beat.
With a bundle of team rosters I threw in the back. . .
The bantams from Brandon are here dressed in Gold and Black.
I head to the drive-thru for a latte — how merry!
And top it off with some whip cream and a cherry.
All it was missing was gift-wrapping and a bow. . .
And it’s much better than rink coffee . . . as you well know.
Back on the ring-road, stir stick in my teeth. . .
Latte steam encircling my head like a wreath.
Closer to the rink, with a growling in the belly. . .
I definitely need more than a bowl full of jelly.
No hotel tonight for this jolly old elf. . .
If there was, I’d claim the reward points for myself.
A wink of my eye and a twist of my head. . .
Good hockey on the horizon with nothing to dread.
I spoke not a word and went straight to work. . .
While avoiding the rink food and fans that are jerks.
Putting pencil to paper and a sniffle in my nose. . .
From the cold arena, of course, turn on the heat I propose.
The game wrapped up and the ref blew his whistle. . .
It’s time to head home after arena dismissal.
But please hear me exclaim, as I drive to the next site. . .
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good hockey night.
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