DETROIT - Tomas Holmstrom gets Christmas wish lists from his Detroit Red Wings teammates. They figure that because he's from northern Sweden, he's close enough to the North Pole to have connections with Santa Claus.
"Usually this time of year all the guys come to me and they say, 'Homer, can you take this Christmas list and give it to Santa?"' Holmstrom said in Thursday's Detroit Free Press. "And I do that."
Holmstrom comes from Pitea, a city less than 350 kilometres from the Arctic Circle.
After years of watching Holmstrom endure crosschecks and slashes, teammate Kris Draper thinks he has an explanation for his toughness: "Seal skin. Homer's got seal skin."
The veteran forward is known around the NHL for battling in front of the net, drawing penalties and scoring timely goals. Holmstrom has 10 this season and is on track for at least 20 for a fourth straight season.
"Absolutely, this is a very exciting time of year for him," Draper said. "We all get excited, but I'm sure Homer gets a little bit more excited about it, living so close to the North Pole and knowing Santa Claus."