’Twas the week before Christmas, with the Habs in first place.
And the Canucks? They had fallen far out of the race.
The sticks were all stacked by the bench with great care,
In hopes that some goal-scoring soon would be there.
The fans still had hope as they filled up the stands.
With visions of Stanley, they were clapping their hands.
Linden in his box and Benning the go-getter
Were wracking their brains for a way to do better
When out on the ice there arose such a clatter
They looked up from their notes to see what was the matter.
Away to the ice the fans looked with a flash,
They yelled at the ref and threw lots of trash.
The lights on the ice had a bright shining glare,
Giving hope that the players soon would be there.
Then to the fans’ wondering eyes did appear
All the trainers and coaches and bearers of gear,
With a little old leader so lively and silly
They knew in a moment he must be coach Willie.
More rapid than eagles his skaters they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
“Go Edler and Tanev, go Markstrom and Miller,
Go Loui, Gudbranson, Biega, and Skille,
Go Sbisa, go Tryamkin, go Stecher and Larsen,
Go Henrik and Daniel, go Horvat and Hansen,
Go Baertschi, go Burrows, go Granlund and Sutter,
Cut through the defence like a knife cuts through butter.
Go Chaput, go Megna, go Dorsett and Hutton,
Go Brendan and Joseph!”—he pushed all the right buttons.
Willie scratched his right ear, his memory was shaky.
“Who’s Larkin? Where’s Grenier? Where’s Anton and Jakey?
Now get on the ice! Now go out and win!”
But, in spite of his urging, the Canucks were losing again.
Like Leafs that before the wild Hurricane fall,
When they met with an obstacle, they failed one and all.
And then in the stands you could hear to the roof
The wailing and booing for each little goof.
As the fans were still moaning and turning around,
Over the boards St. Nicholas came with a bound.
Instead of his costume of white fur and red,
He wore green and blue, from his foot to his head.
“Santa Claus 1” he had sewn on his back.
It was clear he was there to get the team back on track.
His eyes—how they twinkled! No words had he spoken!
His cheeks both had stitches, and his nose had been broken!
His helmet was blue with white fur underneath.
When he smiled, it revealed he was missing some teeth.
The end of a stick he held tight in his hands,
And a ripple of hope ran right through the stands.
He was chubby and plump and as short as an elf.
Willie laughed when he saw him, in spite of himself.
“That Santa plays hockey makes sense in a way.
There’s ice at the Pole—he can play every day.”
With a deke of his skates and a twist of his head,
Nick went round the defence like their skates were of lead.
He went straight to the net and saw the five hole,
Deked out the goalie, and put the puck in the goal.
The stands filled with cheering, the team was on board.
They hoped they could copy the goal Santa scored.
He jumped in the air, to the team gave a whistle:
“You have to compete with great muscle and gristle.”
Then they heard him exclaim as he skated away,
“That’s how you do it! Now go out and play!”