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Home For the Holidays: Growlers Forward Plouffe Excited for his First Newfoundland Christmas

With the Newfoundland Growlers’ pre-holiday schedule officially concluded, it’s that time of year where players set about scurrying back to their hometowns for a week of rest, relaxation and holiday celebrations before resuming the unofficial second half of their ECHL season.

But for Orleans, Ontario native Derian Plouffe and his wife Erin, this holiday season has presented more challenges than opportunities, and the young couple have decided to embrace spending the holidays in their adopted home of Newfoundland and Labrador, in lieu of braving the hectic holiday travel.

“Between the ongoing Covid situation, plus the difficulty of traveling with our dog, we’ve decided stay and enjoy Christmas in Newfoundland,” Plouffe said following the final team practice before the break.

“My dog has never flown before and certain airlines aren’t even allowing that right now. And with my wife as well, flying back to Ottawa would be pricey. So, we are staying here. Less headaches, less stress and we can just have a happy holidays.”

While being away from home for the holidays is an unfathomable thought for many, the Plouffe’s are excited to embrace the festive season a little differently this year, all in the name of staying safe amidst a global pandemic.

“With everything going on in the world, with Covid and everything else, it wasn’t worth it this year,” he said.

“Obviously I’m going to miss spending the time with my family and friends back home, but right now for safety and travel, we thought it was best to stay in Newfoundland. My mom is the most disappointed. She has been asking me every other day ‘are you sure you’re not going to come home?’ She loves the holidays and she always makes it special.”

So the Plouffe’s are leaning into their first Christmas season in Newfoundland, and are already making a list (and checking it twice) of things to do to make the most of what the province of Newfoundland and Labrador has to offer at this wonderful time of year.

“We absolutely love it here,” Plouffe said with a smile.

“We’re still thinking about all the things we want to do since we’re here for Christmas. We have to hit up Quidi Vidi and Cape Spear. We just want to go and explore. If anyone reading this has any suggestions for us, let me know.”

Spending the holidays on the Rock means getting to enjoy the many traditions that are native to our unique corner of the world. While some traditions will be easy to embrace, Plouffe admits he may not be brave enough to tackle some of the traditional Newfoundland holiday eats.

“I can’t wait for Tibbs Eve,” Plouffe said through a laugh.

“I’m looking forward to trying that out. That’s going to be an experience. Not sure we’re making a Jiggs Dinner though. We haven’t really decided all the details. When it’s just the two of us, my wife and I, a full turkey might be a little overkill. We might have to wait and see.”

It can be hard for professional hockey players to find time to complete their holiday shopping with such a hectic travel schedule, but Plouffe has all his shopping done and is ready to relax and enjoy the magic of the holiday season in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Honestly, without online shopping, I’d be in trouble,” he joked.

“Without Amazon, I’d be completely screwed. I still have some things to get. I’ll probably head down to the Avalon Mall this week. We can finish it up and grab some stocking stuffers.”