The Portage Terriers and the MJHL are on a holiday break and for most players that means a fairly short trip home to have some time with their family and friends. For 19-year-old forward Owen Underhill, going home for Christmas has meant a 3150-kilometer drive to Renous, New Brunswick that Google Maps says takes about 34 hours.

Underhill left on the journey on Tuesday and is hoping to arrive on the East Coast sometime early this weekend. It's a road trip he has never made before.

"I got my truck out here after it was put on a train. I flew out when I came in the fall so this is my first time doing the drive. I have a lot of friends in Ontario and Quebec and I could probably stop and see them if I need a break, but I'm gonna go for it and try to get there as quickly as possible.

Underhill is no stranger when it comes to being far from home. He spent last year in the SJHL with the Battlefords North Stars and that's where he started this season before being acquired by the Terriers via a trade. Underhill has enjoyed his time in the community so far.

"It's been great through these first 11 games. Portage is a great city. I got to see a bit of it last year during the Centennial Cup when I was with Battleford. So when I found out I was going to be coming to the Terriers, I was pretty excited, I've really enjoyed it so far."

Underhill's hometown has a population of less than a thousand and is very close to the ocean but it will be a traditional Christmas dinner at his home.

"Some people may have lobster but not my family" Underhill commented. "It has been since early September that I last saw my family so I'm pretty excited to get home for a little bit. Most of my family, we're older, so we're kind of all off on our own now. It's nice for us to hang out and have cousins play hockey with. We like to go on the outdoor rink and just spend time with each other."

As for the back half of the season, Underhill says with the way the standings are, every game will be important as teams jockey for position.

"The second half of the season is going to be very important. A lot of teams are close to each other and everyone's going to be fighting for every inch they can get, we are going to have to bear down and get it done. A couple of points could easily mean home-ice advantage in the playoffs"

Underhill isn't the only player who has some distance to cover to get home for the holidays. Forwards Alyandro De LeonDecker Mujcin and Matthew Biros are all from B.C.,  Boucherville Quebec is the home to Gabriel Laflamme and Mighton Johnson is from Naperville, Illinois.


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