Holiday Traditions

U.S. Stars Share Their Favorite Holiday Memories And Traditions

James and Michael Hagens’ sister, Emma, has a tradition of waking up her brothers on Christmas morning.James and Michael Hagens’ sister, Emma, has a tradition of waking up her brothers on Christmas morning.

David Eustace
U.S. National Sled 
Hockey Team

“On Thanksgiving in 2019, I was a rookie, and I was heading to my first tournament—the Para Hockey Cup—in St John’s, Newfoundland. I was traveling with Declan (Farmer) and Jack (Wallace) and we had a layover in Halifax. We boarded the plane and waited at the gate for two hours before deplaning due to a blizzard. We ate Thanksgiving dinner-inspired subs at a restaurant in the terminal and watched football as our flight got pushed back further and further until it was cancelled, and we were stuck in the airport for the night. I “slept” in the airport lobby on a gym mat, but we were able to get on the first flight the next morning and go on to win the tournament.”

Watch Team USA

Need a break from some of those holiday movie classics? Well, you’re just in luck with USA Hockey’s national teams hitting the ice. Here are three games to watch in November and December and visit to see a full schedule for all of USA Hockey’s national teams. 

November 11: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Canada 
(4 p.m. ET / NHL Network)
The second stop on the 2023-24 Rivalry Series schedule has the United States welcoming Canada to Los Angeles and Arena. The U.S. and Canada will face off two more times before 2024 with showdowns in Canada on Dec. 14 and Dec. 16. Both games have a 7 p.m. ET puck drop and will air live on NHL Network. 

December 16: U.S. National U-18 Team vs. Youngstown Phantoms 
(7 p.m. ET / 
Tune in to as the U.S. National Under-18 Team features two potential No. 1 overall NHL Draft picks in Cole Eiserman (2024 NHL Draft eligible) and James Hagens (2025 NHL Draft eligible). Youngstown, the reigning USHL Clark Cup champions, visits USA Hockey Arena for the second time this season.

December 26: U.S. National Junior Team vs. Norway 
(11 a.m. ET / NHL Network)
The United States begins the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship with a preliminary round game against Norway in Gothenburg, Sweden. The U.S. National Junior Team has medaled 14 times at the World Juniors and will be looking to build off last year’s bronze medal. NHL Network will broadcast every U.S. game and many others from the World Juniors.

James Hagens
USA Hockey National Team Development Program

“The biggest thing we used to do was we used to have an outdoor rink in our backyard and me and my brother would go out there and go 1-v-1 all day. That was a big tradition in the Hagens household. For Christmas, normally, me and my brother would sleep in and my sister would be the first to wake up. She’d always come running into our room to wake us up. That’s something that still happens to this day. The biggest tradition for us is on Christmas night, we have the whole family over at our house. It’s nice to be able to celebrate with everyone and be able to cherish those moments with family.”

Taylor Heise
U.S. Women’s National Team/Minnesota (PWHL)

“For Christmas my mom makes my siblings and I open advent boxes. We each get one small gift a day leading up to Christmas. It can range from a gift card, to a pack of gum to some money to pay it forward for someone else in the community.”

Liam Cunningham 
U.S. National Sled Hockey Team

“One thing I always look forward to while living in the State of Hockey (Minnesota) is the outdoor rinks. They are scattered all over the city and it is always a good way to get ice and play in some pick-up games.”

Megan Keller
U.S. Women’s National Team/Boston (PWHL)

“My grandma makes the best pigs in a blanket, it’s a holiday favorite of mine. There’s not a Christmas that goes by that my family doesn’t ask her to make them. We usually wait until Christmas morning to open presents, but my mom will usually hide a pickle ornament in the tree. I think it’s a German tradition, but whoever finds the pickle ornament first gets 20 dollars. I won last year and I’m hoping to win again this year.”

Dylan Larkin
Detroit Red Wings

“One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is watching the Detroit Lions with family. My Uncle Paul is a big fan. On the food front, I’m a big fan of turkey—white meat. Also really like leftovers; can eat them for days. On Christmas Day, family and friends all gather at our house and that’s something I really enjoy a lot. We have ham and turkey and all the traditional fixings. And to this day, Santa still comes and fills my stocking with candy. I also really like the 25 Days of Christmas.”




Who is your favorite American player?
Auston Matthews
Jason Robertson
Tage Thompson
Matthew Tkachuk
Patrick Kane
Total votes: 395