WINNIPEG – Before Manitobans can rock around the Christmas tree, Rick St. Croix has to do his thing.
The Manitoba Moose goalie coach has been selling Christmas trees for the past 25 years. It’s an operation that begins weeks before the holiday season.
“When they arrive and I get inside the truck, the aroma is amazing,” St. Croix said. “It’s like Christmas is here.”
The former NHLer branched out during his playing days to prepare for life after hockey. St. Croix started with a 100 acre farm in Eastern Ontario, not far from where he trained with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He eventually moved to Manitoba and opened a handful of retail lots before trimming his business to just home deliveries.
“I was looking for other revenue sources,” St. Croix said. “I think some people recognize me as a Christmas tree guy. Others a hockey guy.”
St. Croix specializes in balsam and Fraser firs, selling roughly 100 each year. Most of the trees are spoken for months in advance.
“I get to meet the same people year after year,” St. Croix said.
“Now I’m giving trees to their children who bought trees as a youngster running through the lot.”
A growing tradition among many families.