But for at least a couple of Bruins from the Canadian Maritimes, the days after Christmas were just as special.
That's when Nova Scotia native Brad Marchand would get to play in his favorite tournament of the year over on Prince Edward Island, which just happened to be the home of current Bruins teammate Adam McQuaid.
"There was always a tournament back home around Christmastime called Spud," Marchand said. "It was actually in P.E.I. where Quaider lives. Every year all the teams from my area would go over there.
"It was the day after Christmas," Marchand added. "So we'd all jump in the car and drive over to P.E.I."
When it came to the appeal of the tournament, the adventure of trekking to Prince Edward Island and the thrill of staying in a hotel often outweighed playing in the actual games.
"Growing up it was by far the best tournament," Marchand said. "You always looked forward to it every year. You'd get to stay in a hotel. All the teams would stay there and all the guys would get together and play mini-sticks and stuff. That definitely stands out from when I was younger."
McQuaid remembers those tournaments fondly too, even though he didn't have quite as far to travel.
"I played in that too, but it probably meant a little more to [Marchand and the teams outside of P.E.I.] because they got to travel," McQuaid said. "We called it off-island. They probably called it going to the island. When you're a kid, getting to travel and stay in a hotel and hang out with all your buddies, that's pretty fun."
McQuaid still got those benefits, even if his was a shorter trip.
"It was always fun to run around from room to room, get to play mini-sticks and maybe if you didn't have a game that evening, get to go to the pool," McQuaid said. "Probably the most fun about getting to go to those trips away was all that other stuff. The hockey was the least of it. It was everything else that was the most fun."
McQuaid, 25, is two years older than the 23-year-old Marchand. They faced each other a few times when they were a little older, but didn't go head-to-head in the Spud tournaments. McQuaid does remember seeing Marchand play back then, though, and what he saw wasn't a whole lot different than what he witnesses from the Bruins' resident agitator these days.
"I played against him in a couple of showcases they were called, they were like prospects tournaments," McQuaid said. "I just ended up missing him [in the Spud tournaments], because of our age groups we just missed each other. But he was in my brother's age group, so I got to see him play a lot growing up. He was the exact same way then. You could tell that he was tenacious and strong and a skilled player. I don't know if he was working on his chirping game back then or not, but the rest was same."
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