December is a busy month in hockey, even though it contains the first mandated break in the schedule. There are special games, special rules, and international hockey gets going with the World Junior Championships as the highlight of the international calendar.

Here’s your dates to remember for the rest of the month.

December 5

Team Canada vs Team USA play as part of a Women’s Olympic tuneup series.

December 11

Players called up from the AHL after this date can be loaned to the AHL anytime up to December 23, regardless of the Holiday Roster Freeze as long as they don’t require waivers.

December 13-17

The Channel One Cup takes place in Russia. Team Canada and Team Korea are taking part, making this another Men’s Olympic tuneup.

December 15

Team Canada vs Team USA play as part of a Women’s Olympic tuneup series.

December 16

The Teddy Bear Toss game for the Marlies is at Ricoh Coliseum.

December 17

Team Canada vs Team USA play as part of a Women’s Olympic tuneup series.

December 19

The Leafs play their special game recognizing the historic Toronto Arenas team.  The start time is at 2:00 p.m. and will feature a special jersey.

The Holiday Roster Freeze begins at midnight on this date. Teams may not trade anyone or loan anyone to the AHL (with some exceptions, notably recent callups). The Leafs have two games before Christmas after the freeze takes place, both local-area road trips, but they have no waiver exempt players they might send down to be available to the Marlies. This is likely a non-issue for them.

This is also the last day a player on an NHL contract can be released from the NHL or AHL for the WJC.

December 24-26

No NHL games played on these three days.

The WJC begins in Buffalo on December 26.

The Boxing Day Classic at the ACC pits the Marlies against the Belleville Senators.

The Spengler Cup begins in Switzerland on December 26. This event is being used by Hockey Canada to help make their Men’s Olympic roster. One Leafs draft pick may be playing.

December 28

The Leafs first game back is on the road in Arizona on this day.

This day marks the end of the Holiday Roster Freeze at one minute after midnight.

December 29

The outdoor game between Canada and the USA takes place at the WJC.

December 31

The NHL sends Auston Matthews to Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve. (Not sure if they realize he’s not legal.) The game is in the early afternoon Vegas time, but the Leafs don’t need to get home until January 2 for their next game.