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Foreign-born players make most of holidays away from home

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From: The Wilkes-Barre (PA) Times Leader > Sports


Foreign-born Penguins bring home to Wilkes-Barre for holidays

By Tom Venesky

December 24th, 2016 - 12:35 pm - updated: December 24th, 2016 - 2:46 pm.


Oskar Sundqvist blew it.

He admits it.

Had Sundqvist known the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (would not play) for eight days over Christmas break, he would’ve bought a plane ticket to his home in Sweden to spend the holiday with his family.

But as it turned out, Sundqvist had already bought tickets to fly his family from Sweden to Wilkes-Barre for Christmas.

“I kind of screwed up,” he said. “I realized too late that we had a long break. If the family wasn’t already coming, I would’ve gone home.”

Predicaments like that are part of life for hockey players who spend the season far from home. Usually, the Christmas break is too short for players who reside farther than driving distance to head home. The Penguins have several players from western Canada and Europe who have to adapt when it comes to Christmas. With an eight-day break this year, some are able to head home while others, like Sundqvist, are staying put. ...

Sundqvist and (Defenseman Lukas) Bengtsson are also looking forward to rekindling some Christmas traditions native to Sweden while their families are in town. In Sweden, Christmas is actually celebrated on Christmas Eve, and Sundqvist said he’ll spend the day eating ham, sausage and anything else his family cooks.

“Every family is different when it comes to Christmas food. You can eat almost anything for Christmas, it’s like Thanksgiving,” Sundqvist said.

Bengtsson and his family opt for Donald Duck.

Actually, in Sweden the Walt Disney program “Donald Duck and His Friends Wish You a Merry Christmas” is popular viewing on Christmas Eve. In Sweden the show is called “Kalle Anka”, and Bengtsson is looking forward to watching it again with his family.

“Watching ‘Kalle Anka’ is one of the traditions we usually do,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll have a Christmas tree too.” ...


Read more at: http://timesleader.com/sports/618611/long-break-still-not-enough-for-some-wilkes-barrescranton-penguins-to-go-home-for-christmas


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