If there is one drawback of seeing this year’s Elite League season postponed, it is that Glasgow Clan captain Matt Haywood will finally celebrate his family’s birthday at home.
The striker has spent his day of honor on a bus or ferry for seven of the last 10 years, heading to an opponent’s arena to help the Clan pick up two celebration points as part of a busy schedule.
But Haywood is looking forward to some comforts at home and time with his family as he prepares to celebrate his 30th birthday on Sunday, rather than going out to spend his day with fans in anticipation of a busy night on the ice.
Haywood chuckled, “This year I don’t have to worry about traveling, getting up early or worrying about getting beat up during games,” Now I can look forward to a good night’s rest, or at least with two small children as much as I can.
This year, it’s going to be fun to be home and it’s my work, but it’s bad for me that my birthday is right then, so I have to go and play. If I’ll have a cup of tea made for me this year.
I normally spend my birthday on the boat to go to Belfast to play the Giants, but since I’m away about 6am, I don’t usually see my family. I see a lot of fans, so that’s sufficient.
The holidays I love because they break up the season. You usually work and practice all week, and then you have your weekend games. You have games every two to three days at this time of year, and it can be a time to figure out how the season is going to go.
“The Christmas season is always hectic and in my early years I was more travel sick than I am now and I was convinced there were better ways to spend my birthday than sitting on a rickety boat, but now I’m used to it.”
Festive games typically bring out the fans in large numbers, and in the two games after Christmas, the Clan generally meets the Belfast Giants at least once, usually in doubleheaders where both teams are traveling.
But Haywood says hockey players usually have to be careful of what they can eat and drink on Christmas Day, and that can make a difference depending on whether there’s a game on Boxing Day.
For both sets of fans, the games (with Belfast) were very funny, and I know the Purple Army will miss it this year,”The games (with Belfast) were very entertaining for both sets of fans, and I know the Purple Army will miss it this year,” They come out and have a wonderful time in great numbers, home or away. The atmosphere is still nice and the fans get along very well.
Games have always been a tight affair, except for one or two games in recent years, but for us as a team, it’s certainly a difficult one. When we play in Belfast, we still know that we have to turn it up and play. We get beat pretty hard if we don’t.
As athletes, we still have to watch what we eat and drink. You could be a little more cautious if you have the game the next day. You can afford an extra slice or two of turkey if it’s just a morning skate the next day.
“Too much can weigh you down, but as a player, it’s about taking care of yourself, being sensible and taking fewer potatoes off your plate and saving them for another day.”