Best Sporting Events to Watch Over the Holiday Season

Sports fans have plenty to look forward to during the holiday season, with the schedule packed with a host of exciting events.

Ice hockey, basketball and American Football are amongst the sports that will stage some unmissable action during the festive period.

Whether you are searching for sport betting opportunities or want to watch live sport,  the following guide will point you in the direction of the best upcoming events.

Bruins Set to Showcase Their Talents

Missoula’s most talented ice hockey players will have the opportunity to showcase their talents during December at an event that offers a route to higher levels.

The Missoula Jr Bruins will join their NA3HL counterparts in a league-wide Showcase at the Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota, from December 20-22.

The event attracts hundreds of college, junior and professional coaches and scouts, all of whom will be hoping to unearth the stars of the future.

So far in 2020, the NA3HL has more than 120 college commitments, with almost three-quarters of those being from the NCAA.

Over 300 former NA3HL players currently play in the NCAA, and 17% of NCAA Division III freshmen this season previously played in the NA3HL.

Edmonton to Host World Junior Championships

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has confirmed that the World Junior Championship will get underway in Alberta on December 25.

It will be played in a ‘competition bubble’ without spectators at Rogers Place in Edmonton, which recently successfully hosted the Stanley Cup play-offs with Toronto.

The United States will be in action on the opening day as they go head-to-head with last year’s runners-up Russia.

There could be local involvement in the tournament, with Montana-born Jake Sanderson in line for a call-up to the US roster.

The 18-year-old was recently drafted fifth overall by the Ottawa Senators and is rated as one of the most talented young blueliners in the US.

Malibu Takes Centre Stage at Santa Anita

The Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita is the highlight of the horse racing calendar in the US over the holiday season.

The race often features horses that took part in the Breeders’ Cup during November, and serves as a warm-up for significant events during the early part of the following year.

The Malibu is run over a distance of seven furlongs and is the first leg of Santa Anita Park’s Strub Series incorporating the San Fernando Stakes and the Strub Stakes.

The race always produces high-class winners, a point demonstrated by the victories of McKinzie and Omaha Beach in the last two renewals.

Omaha Beach’s win in 2019 was made more notable by the fact that Mike Smith surpassed Jerry Bailey’s record as the all-time Grade 1 stakes-winning jockey.

Seahawks Face Crucial Clash with the Rams

With no NFL team of their own to support, many sports fans from Montana regularly follow the fortunes of the Seattle Seahawks.

The Seahawks have made an excellent start to the new season, and they will be eager to continue in the same vein as the campaign progresses.

Their clash with the Los Angeles Rams on December 27 could be hugely important, with both teams harbouring hopes of winning NFC West.

The Seahawks are on a recovery mission this term, having been narrowly edged out by the Green Bay Packers in last season’s play-offs.

They are one of the favourites for Super Bowl glory this time around, and a victory over the Rams could be the result that takes them into the post-season.

Festive Launch for the NBA

The NBA informed team owners that the 2020/21 season will start no sooner than Christmas Day, setting up the prospect of an exciting festive schedule.

The league’s Christmas Day games have always been a major draw for the league and combining them with opening day makes perfect sense from a commercial perspective.

However, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has hinted that he doesn’t see the new campaign starting until January, which may mean a New Years’ Day extravaganza.

A typical season including play-offs lasts nearly eight months, meaning that a January start could impact the ability of NBA players to participate in the Summer Olympics.

Whichever way the decision falls, the NBA is fully expected to cash in on the festive appetite for sport by launching the new campaign during this period.

NHL on Track for January Start

Sports fans are certainly in for a treat where ice hockey is concerned, with the 2020/21 NHL season targeted to start on January 1.

The NHL paused the previous campaign back in March, before relaunching during August in a ‘bubble’ environment in Toronto and Edmonton.

The Stanley Cup was decided on September 28, when Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars 2-0 in Game 6 of the best-of-7 series.

The decision to start the new season in January has cast doubt over the 2021 Winter Classic, particularly with regards to the logistics behind organising the event.

Minnesota Wild were scheduled to host the latest edition of the Classic and will no doubt be pushing hard to stage it if at all possible.