Every year, the Aces (as many NHL teams do) host a holiday skate for players and their families. It’s a laid back affair. Very laid back. They skate, eat food, drink cocoa or cider (non spiked and handily spiked), and generally relax. It’s one part holiday party for each player who is unable to join their families or have their families join them and three parts competition for the….best dressed. This year, the rookies are bound and determined to overthrow the current title holder - their captain, Kent Parson.
Kent Parson came, saw, and conquered the competition from 2010 until now. But this year, the Aces 2015 Holiday Skate, will go down in history as the year of Parse’s downfall. The rookies will prevail! They’ve been plotting and planning outfits since October and truly believe they have achieved peak Ugly Holiday Sweater.
Swoops is honestly exhausted by the entire process, but hey, free entertainment right? Granted, the rookies really do have, eh, excellent matching outfits. They had custom sweaters and matching pants made for different holiday carols. If that wasn’t garish enough, they’d chosen the 3D route. Goose swanned about with the Twelve Days of Christmas popping out all over him: from a plushy pear tree complete with partridge, turtle doves, french hens and geese on his sweater front to the tiny drumsticks running down one pant leg with matching pipers on the other. Pasta was out in full “Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer” meets “Up on the Housetop” glory, blinking lights and music included. Jonesy’s version of “Frosty the Snowman” managed to be the least eye-gouging, but not by much.
The rookies are excitedly chattering around Swoops when he spit takes his last mouthful of rum with cider all over the ice. The rink is silent for a split second before Swoops recovers with a series of expletives not meant for small ears followed by a strangled, “Kent. What. Are. You. Wearing.”
Heads whip around to face the bench. Snickers break out, then guffaws, culminating in Carly howling out as he collapses to the ice, “Oh god! You - oh my ribs - you definitely lost this round rookies! Jesus Parse! How much did you pay to have that getup tailored to fit your shoulders and ass?”
Kent strides onto the ice and spins to display his outfit in full. He’s wearing a christmas tree sweater dress with tights, which in and of itself, isn’t that unusual for Parse and costumes. However, most sweater dresses aren’t generally made to look like real, touchable, three-dimensional trees with real lights, ornaments, and presents attached along the boughs and bottom of the dress. If Swoops is being honest, Kent kinda looks like an upside down green ice cream cone, only sparklier...and less satisfying. Skating forward, Kent slides to a stop by Swoops, the star atop his headband waving to and fro distractingly...and playing what sounds like “O’Christmas Tree” to Swoops untrained ears. Kent nods, “Rookies. Swoops.”
Goose closes his mouth then opens it again before just shaking his head. Kent smirks and turns to Swoops, “Wanna help me pass out presents?”
“What are you talking about Kent? What presen- you’ve got to be kidding me. Those are real presents???”
Little ears all of the rink perk up and the call echos, “Pwesents! Pwarse bwought pwensents!” A small whimper comes from Pasta as kids swarm towards their cluster. Kent smiles down at them, “Okay! Okay! Settle down - each present has a name on it, so you’ll have to wait until we find yours.”
He quirks a brow at Swoops, “You helping or what?”
It’s hours later that Swoops and Kent are the last two on the ice skating lazy laps, when he finally asks the question that’s been on his mind since Parse first hit the ice, “So, why a sweater dress? Why not just a sweater?”
Kent looks at him thoughtfully before smirking, “Two reasons. One, more space for presents in areas that weren’t where my arms needed to be and two, fuck the gender norms! They’re damn comfortable. Except the tights - they keep pulling at my leg hair. Next time, I’m definitely shaving before I put them on.”
Swoops just chuckles and wraps an arm around Kent’s shoulder, “You do you Parse, you do you. Though maybe give the rookies a fighting chance next year, eh?”
A quicksilver grin flashes, “Well now Swoops, where’s the fun in that?”
Needless to say, the Aces 2015 Holiday Skate, does go down in history. Just not as the year of Parse’s downfall.