'Twas the night before a hockey game, down at the Sommet
Excitement hung in the air due to the next day's foray;
The skates were hung in each locker with care,
Knowing that Chicago soon would be there;
The players were at home nestled snug in their beds,
While visions of the Blackhawks danced in their heads;
And Gnash all alone in his jersey and cap,
Had just settled down for an afternoon nap,
When out on Broadway there arose such a clatter,
Gnash sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the front door he flew like a flash,
Ran down a flight of stairs in a mad dash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to his wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature zamboni, and eight men in hockey gear,
With a short and stout driver, so easy to spot,
He knew in a moment it must be Coach Trotz.
More rapid than tigers his skaters they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Arnott! Now, Dumont! Now, Sullivan and Suter!
On, Erat! On, Legwand! On, Weber and Smithson!
Out to the ice! Don't trip and fall!
Now skate away! Skate away! Skate away all!"
Each player paused, with Gatorade to drink,
Then quickly and sprightly took to the rink,
Out on the ice, they knew just what to do,
Shooting the pucks, and sometimes dodging them too.
And then, in a twinkling, he heard from the eight,
The cutting and scraping of each little skate.
As he drew in his hand, and was turning around,
Down the tunnel Coach Trotz came with a bound.
He was dressed in a suit, from his head to his foot,
His clothes were all ironed, his tie pinned down to stay put;
A bag of pucks he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And Gnash laughed when he saw him, in spite of himself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave him to know he had nothing to dread;
Trotz addressed the players and went straight to his work,
Barking out his orders; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, back down the tunnel he rose;
He sprang to the zamboni, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
Gnash heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good fight."