It would be impossible to not be bombarded with Christmas-themed movies churned out by a certain greeting card company. It has become a staple of holiday programming and has a highly predictable rhythm as every one of these movies has almost the same plot, with few variations. They begin with a high-powered female who stars at the center of this production. She either returns to her small hometown for the holidays or is sent to one for work. She is suffering from some romantic or professional disappointment. She must complete a task for a cartoonishly evil boss that would hurt said town’s Christmas traditions. Eventually, she finds solace in her family, the town, its traditions, and a handsome man she didn’t expect.
What kind of shenanigans could ensue? You can find dozens of mad libs to generate your own movie plot, but for this one, let’s have some fun and hockey this up.
Take girl. Add boy. ‘Christmas the Crap out of it.’
The star of the movie will be a young lady from New York. But the stock footage used as the background will be vaguely familiar to anyone who has driven through Toronto. This lady’s name will be Madeline. She is the assistant to the NHL Chairman, Gery Gambleguy (yes, this is an off-brand Gary Bettman). Mr. Gambleguy will be the villain in this movie for obvious reasons. He is always the villain in the hockey world, just look at the fan reaction anytime he speaks.
The male lead will be a young man named Joel who lives in Edmundston, a small New Brunswick town whose town square becomes the centrepiece of the area’s Christmas traditions. Joel (yes, this is a blatant rip-off of Joel Edmundson’s likeness) manages the local hockey team, whose profits are used to buy presents for local orphans and pay for the town’s Christmas.
Act One – Enter the NHL Grinch
Madeline travels to Edmundston in the most indirect routes ever by taking a plane to a random airstrip where her rental car is unavailable. Fortunately, there is a jolly and kind older gentleman named Kris Versteeg, who looks a lot like Santa Claus, but no one mentions it, that offers to share his rental car with her, as long as she is willing to tell him why she seems so glum during the Christmas holiday.
Related: Dear Santa: Canadiens 2022 Christmas Wish List
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Somehow Madeline is comfortable with this option and loads up into a car with Kris. She proceeds to spill her life story, which is over in a matter of minutes. Telling him about her meteoric rise up the NHL ladder thanks to her near-complete focus on her career. But she regrets choosing the career over the love of her high school sweetheart, Joel. She also reveals the tightly guarded corporate secret that her horrible boss, Gery Gambleguy wants to take her hometown hockey team away from Edmundston and move it to the desert in Arizona.
Act Two – Crossed Hockey Sticks
Kris’s rental car breaks down on the highway entering Edmundston and immediately begins walking to town to find help, leaving Madeline in the car alone. After some bad edits and flashbacks to her childhood, she remembers her cell phone, because of course she has one, it’s 2022. The tow truck driver arrives, and lo and behold, it’s her former sweetheart, Joel, who moonlights as a handyman, driver and hockey manager between his high-intensity workouts to chisel the features of a Greek Statue covered by a knitted wool sweater and coveralls.
There are some hurt feelings, Yada Yada Yada, then they reconcile over baking cookies for a local Inn owned by his elderly Aunt. Yada yada yada, they fall back in love. She reveals she’s there to steal away his beloved hockey team, which will destroy the town and Christmas, yada yada yada. She has a change of heart and sabotages the NHL’s plans after Mr. Gambleguy arrives personally to revel in the town’s anger and hatred.
Act Three – Plot Holes Larger Than a Power Forward
Kris reveals himself at the final moment as Santa and brings with him a Zamboni to keep the town’s arena running. Thanks to Kris, Madeline and Joel, the trio thwart the cartoonishly evil Mr. Gambleguy, who vows that Madeline will never again work for him, then quickly leaves town without any plan to try again or cause any issues at all, for some odd reason that is never explained.
In the end, Joel and Madeline renew their partnership in the town gazebo, where they met, and share a very short kiss while thick fake snow falls around them as this was all filmed in July. A predictable end to a predictable movie that plays in the background as mom wraps the Christmas presents.