Milan Lucic, Dennis Seidenberg Among Bruins Making American Holiday an International Affair

For most of the Bruins, the "real" Thanksgiving was celebrated over a month ago.

Canada celebrates its Thanksgiving holiday on the second Monday of October, but not even national pride is enough to resist an opportunity for a second helping of turkey and stuffing at the end of November, so the 16 members of the current Bruins roster who hail from north of the border are just as excited about the American version being celebrated on Thursday.

"Oh yeah, 100 percent, it's a big thing around here," said Vancouver native Milan Lucic. "It's a big day. The whole city pretty much shuts down, so it's a nice day to cook up a turkey and have a dinner with everyone."

Lucic is one of the many young Bruins who will be gathering at Shawn Thornton's home for Thursday's dinner, an annual tradition the tough guy established to make sure none of his teammates would be left celebrating alone.

"Thornton and his wife always put together a nice turkey dinner for all the guys who don't have their families here," said Lucic. "That's what I've done the last couple years."

Thornton's gathering keeps growing, and with the influx in youngsters on this season's squad, this year might be the biggest dinner yet. Fortunately for Thornton, Boston's schedule gives him an excuse to skip out on most of the preparation, as the Bruins played in Florida on Wednesday night before returning home for the holiday.

"There are a lot of guys coming this year, 12 or 13," said Thornton. "Thank god we're on the road so I don't have to put up with my wife cooking for three days. She's probably not going to be very happy with me. But we've got a lot of guys coming, so it should be fun."

Thornton grew up in Oshawa, Ontario, but the Charlestown resident has earned full Bostonian status with the way he's immersed himself into the city's culture. That includes a hearty celebration of the American Thanksgiving each November.

There are just four American players on this year's Bruins roster, which also features players from Germany, Slovakia, Finland and the Czech Republic in addition to the Canadian majority. But the club's other nationalities get in on the Thanksgiving festivities as well.

"I do [celebrate Thanksgiving], because my wife is American," said German-born defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. "So I just kind of went with it and now it's a nice, relaxing day and it's been fun the last few years."

Seidenberg noted that there is a similar holiday in his homeland, though it's not nearly as big a production as the American version.

"We have a Thanksgiving, but it's not really as celebrated as it is here," said Seidenberg. "People go to church, but it's not really big like it is over here."

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