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Thanksgiving a Big Deal for American-Born Stars

by Steve Hunt / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars currently have five American-born players on the roster and to each of them Thursday represents a big day on the calendar. Of course, it’s Thanksgiving, a great day to eat some turkey, see some family and friends and watch some or a ton of football. But Thursday is also great for the entire Stars roster for another reason because it also represents almost a full day off.

Toby Petersen
So, for those reasons, Thanksgiving remains a big day. Sure it might still fall in the middle of the regular season and the club is currently toward the tail end of a three-game homestand, but the final Thursday in November still has big meaning for them.

Jake Dowell is one of the five American-born Stars and he agrees that Thanksgiving always has and will always have a special meaning for him.

“Yeah, I think holidays have separate meanings for everybody but the main thing is it just gives an opportunity to get together with family and spend time you don’t always get to. I know a lot of people have parents in town right now and they can spend some time with them, especially for the people who are from Europe whose families don’t get over here very often,” Dowell said. “It’s just kind of a good chance to relax and focus on the things that mean the most to you.”

Fellow Star Toby Petersen not only has fond memories of having Thanksgiving dinner with his parents and the rest of his family, but it’s not surprising to hear that some of his fondest recollections of the holiday center around the game he has played for most of his life.

“Thanksgiving is just all about being with family and enjoying the time you get to spend now it’s with my kids. It used to be with my parents and my siblings. It’s an important time of year. It kicks off the holiday season. Christmas seems to be around the corner,” Petersen said. “It’s an exciting time. Growing up, there was a lot of good competition and a lot of good hockey tournaments in Minnesota around Thanksgiving. I have a lot of good memories from that time in my life too.”

Winger Eric Nystrom is one of the newer additions to the Stars roster but he admits he can’t remember the last time he got to spend the holiday with his family because of hockey but that doesn’t diminish how much he still loves the holiday.

“Obviously, it’s a traditional holiday in the US and I’m a proud American, so it’s obviously great to have that holiday season. I haven’t really had a good Thanksgiving with my family in a long time just because of hockey and there’s always something going on,” Nystrom said. “But I have a lot of great memories growing up-spending time with my family. Now our family is the team and you get to spend the holidays with them. It’s a great time.”

But Thursday is also great for the players from a rest standpoint since it will  basically be a day off for the entire roster, something every Star agrees they can’t get too much of this time of year.

“Yeah, day off, we’re going to have the traditional turkey dinner and all that, watch some football and just spend time together. I think that’s the main thing,” Dowell said. “Sometimes you need to focus on the things that mean the most to you in life and it’s good to kind of show that.”

Petersen clearly agrees. “Any rest is obviously good. To have more time with your family, significant others and stuff like that is always a bonus. We’re pretty busy guys and to get to take a step back and look at the bigger picture is always enjoyable,” Petersen said. “We’ve got a tough stretch here, so any rest is good.”

And after a 3-2 overtime win over the Kings on Wednesday night for their second straight win, the Stars ensured their players and coaches will head into the holiday on a very positive note. Following what promises to be a mostly restful Thanksgiving Day, the Stars will return to the ice on Friday night against Toronto looking to close out a three-game homestand with yet another win at American Airlines Center.

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