Sit back my American friends and let me regale you with a Thanksgiving Tale from Philadelphia Flyer lore.
This story goes back to 2003 and was recounted by then Flyers teammates Todd Fedoruk and Robert Esche. Fedoruk, a Canadian native in just his second season with the Flyers, wanted to experience a true American Thanksgiving so Esche agreed to come over to Fedoruk's home and cook him a proper Thanksgiving dinner. Esche was known as the team's cook so Fedoruk graciously accepted.
The two players were in their early 20s and while Esche claims he is/was a good cook, I'm guessing that his inexperience is to blame for this near catastrophe.
So, without further ado here's the story of how Fedoruk and Esche nearly burned down Fedoruk's house as told in a Sports Illustrated column from 2003:
... Flyers goalie Robert Esche does his own cooking, and things got hot when he spent Thanksgiving at then teammate Todd Fedoruk's New Jersey home in 2003. The host's deep fryer boiled over on the porch. "We went to put the turkey in when the deep fryer was half full of oil," says Esche (right). "Oil was shooting up everywhere, so I dropped the thing. Grease splattered all over the place, and a fire started on the porch. [Todd's] shoe caught fire when he tried to stamp it out. We were howling." The turkey turned out O.K., but, says Fedoruk, "the grease stain on my deck has lasted years."
- Sports Illustrated
Fedoruk would go on to say that his dried out old back porch was the perfect kindling for the fire and that it required quite a bit of quick work to get the fire under control. Both men did say though that the bird was spared from the disaster. "It tasted absolutely perfect," recalled Fedoruk.
Nicely done, boys.
I can only imagine what the Philly media would have done had Fedoruk, their top enforcer, and Esche, their #1 goaltender, ended up on the long-term injury reserve due to Thanksgiving dinner injuries.
There's got to be other NHL Thanksgiving mishap stories out there, but hopefully the fire department aren't involved.