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Lightning’s Thanksgiving feast courtesy of defenseman Zach Bogosian

For a second straight year, the veteran defenseman is hosting Turkey Day dinner.
Lightning defenseman Zach Bogosian, also know as the team's grill master, will be hosting Thanksgiving festivities again this year.
Lightning defenseman Zach Bogosian, also know as the team's grill master, will be hosting Thanksgiving festivities again this year. [ CHRIS O'MEARA | AP ]
Published Nov. 24

TAMPA — Zach Bogosian was in a hurry to get home after practice Thursday.

For the second straight year, the Lightning defenseman is hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the team. At last count, he expected around 33 guests — 22 teammates and spouses, and around 11 kids — to attend.

“I’ve always enjoyed when the whole team comes over,” Bogosian said following morning practice. “I love cooking, I love grilling, I love having a get-together, so it’s a pretty easy no-brainer on our part. We enjoy getting everyone together. …

“We do have a really close group so it makes get-togethers pretty easy. Everyone’s usually pretty game to hang out. So I will get everyone together and watch some football. Fire up some food and have a good day.”

The stuffing is already prepared at the Bogosian home. Among the items on the menu will be turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole and green bean casserole. Some teammates will bring offerings, including Victor Hedman and his family, who are expected to bring a Swedish side dish.

Bogosian also uses the dinner as an opportunity to show off his grilling skills. Like last year, he plans to serve two turkeys, one cooked in the oven and the other on his wood-pellet grill.

“I’m usually pretty biased towards the Traeger (grill) one because I use it so much,” Bogosian said. “Last year, we did two bigger turkeys and got good reviews on the Traeger one. So hopefully, that’s the same case this year.”

Bogosian is one of seven Americans currently on the Lightning’s roster, so many players didn’t traditionally celebrate Thanksgiving growing up. But it’s still an opportunity for team bonding.

“A lot of us are away from our families,” he said. “There’s no home-grown Tampa players here, so anytime you get a chance to get together for the holidays, create that family atmosphere, it’s really big for the team.”

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