The Portage Terriers played their last game of the year on Wednesday and now can head home for the holidays.
Those trips home will look different for everyone on the team. Local players like Kian Calder and Ryan Botterill will likely stay put in Portage. Others like Austin Peters and Brandon McCartney have to spend less than an hour to get home to Winnipeg, but a few Terriers had quite the journey to see their friends and family.
Parker Scherr and Daniel Siso both have travelled across two provinces to get to their homes in Alberta. It took Blake Boudreau 1838 kilometres to get back to his roots in Riverside, Ontario. Newly acquired Gavin Klaassen crossed the border and had an 1820-kilometre journey to Ypsilanti, Michigan.
The furthest traveller is Bailey Monteith, who has headed home to Kamloops, B.C., which is an 1862-kilometre trip.
"I'm flying home," says Monteith. "I think it's a 22-hour drive. That would be a bit too much to do when I only have seven days. It'll make it a lot quicker going back."
Monteith had a connecting flight in Calgary but notes he left for Kamloops at 9 a.m. and was able to get there by 2 p.m., after getting on a connecting flight in Calgary. The goaltender notes getting to see his family is always a great way to reset.
"Any family time when you've been away for as long as I have, or as long as we have as a team, I guess, other than the local guys, is going to be nice. But, it'll never feel like enough," Monteith explains. "I'm already itching to get back going for the second half of the year but it'll never feel like enough (family time). You always feel like you still want to be with your family but I'm just as excited to get going for the second half of the season as I am to be home."
The 20-year-old spent the last four seasons away from home, playing for a plethora of teams in British Columbia and moving out to Manitoba last season. Monteith adds it can be beneficial for development to play in different surroundings.
"Coming out to Manitoba, it was hard to adjust right away but I love it. It's become like a second home to me but I'd be lying if I told you I didn't miss home a lot as well," Monteith continues. "The family time is definitely missed but I'm excited to get some of that family time in while I'm home."
Monteith adds he and his family don't have too many major holiday traditions but he is happy that's the way it is.
"Last year for Christmas, we didn't end up having a big Christmas dinner. It was just my grandma, my mom, and I. My grandma's side of the family is Ukrainian. We might've just had perogies that night. It was definitely something simple. We tried to keep it a little bit more low-key last year, and I'm looking forward to that. It doesn't need to be a big thing. The time with family is all I'm looking for."
Monteith and the Terriers will return to action on January 6 as they welcome the top-seed Steinbach Pistons to Stride Place.