For many, holiday traditions include movies and music; for others, sitting down to watch sports is preferred. Ignore the fact that your grandma will not stop asking when you’ll bring a nice young man to dinner or that your uncle tried to ask who you voted for before opening presents and focus on all the great sports action the winter break has to offer.
NBA Christmas Day
The Raptors finally have a Christmas Day game! A miracle! There are 13 straight hours of basketball to watch if you feel so inclined, starting off with the Raptors’ second ever Christmas Day game:
Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors — 12:00 p.m.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Philadelphia 76ers — 2:30 p.m.
Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors — 5:00 p.m.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers — 8:00 p.m.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Denver Nuggets — 10:30 p.m.
NFL Week 16 & 17
There are no games on Christmas or Christmas Eve this year (the league only schedules them if those days fall on a Sunday or Monday) but there will be plenty of action leading into the playoffs, which officially start on January 4.
The National Women’s Hockey League takes a few days off just before Christmas for their own winter break, but there will be plenty of games to watch all throughout December. Look out for Brock alumna, Kim Brown, as her Buffalo Beauts take on the currently undefeated Boston Pride on December 21 at 5:30 p.m. and on the 22 at 1:00 p.m. All the games will be streamed live on Twitch.
IIHF World Juniors
A Canadian tradition of projecting the hopes and dreams of a nation onto a group of teenagers who don’t shave yet returns! Preliminaries begin on Dec. 26 and the tournament wraps up on Jan. 5. Games to watch out for will be Canada vs. the United States on Dec. 26 at 1:00 p.m. and the match-up between last years Finnish championship team and the Swiss underdogs — who almost stopped them — on Dec. 31 at 1:00 p.m.
NHL Winter Classic (Jan. 1)
The Winter Classic is headed south this year. Some were confused about the choice to have the Dallas Stars host the Nashville Predators, but I’m personally all for it. The worst part of watching the Winter Classic is always seeing the players look like they’re one stiff breeze away from becoming one with the ice. The above freezing temperatures in Dallas should be an interesting change.
Some of the best women’s hockey players are taking their skills on a barn-storming tour of North America. It’s the perfect time to see if they’ll be coming to a city near you. Members of the former CWHL team the Toronto Furies will be taking on former members of the Markham Thunder on Dec. 7 at the University of Toronto. Teams captained by Natalie Spooner and Marie-Philip Poulin will play one another on Dec. 20 in Des Ormeaux, Quebec and teams headed by Genvieve Lacasse and Jayna Hefford will take their skills to Kingston. Tickets are on sale for less than $15 on the PWHPA website, so if you’re in the mood to get out of the house and see a cheap hockey game, this is the perfect opportunity.