There’s no doubt that the Stanley Cup Finals are the Super Bowl of Hockey. The seven games close out the National Hockey League season each year. The team that wins four of the seven games takes home the Stanley Cup trophy. The teams who are the champions of the Eastern and Western Conferences compete against each other and the team that wins gets each members name inscribed on the cup. Besides being the highest honor you can achieve in the world, the Stanley Cup has the honor of being the oldest trophy awarded in sports in North America.
Originally “the Cup” was donated by Lord Stanley in 1892. Stanley was the Governor General of Canada and the trophy was awarded to the winning amateur hockey team from Canada. It’s sometimes call “Lord Stanley’s Mug” or even better, “the Holy Grail” among hockey players and their fans.
When the championship games are played the team with the most wins between the two gets the home team advantage and the first two games are played on their ice rink as well as games five and seven. The third, fourth and sixth games are played at the other team’s location.
When you play in your own rink the home team advantage is not just a saying but more of a fact, The Montreal Canadians are the winners of the most Stanley Cups than any other hockey team and they had the advantage of playing at home.
The National Hockey League season started up again on October 1, 2013. Each team plays an amazing 82 games for a total of 1,230 games rounding out the regular season and ending on April 13, 2014. The playoffs for the Stanley Cup start on Wednesday, April 16, 2014.
In the United States the NBC Sports Network and NBC are in their third year of a 10-year commitment to the National Hockey League. Canadian viewers can catch the games starting with the 61st season of “Hockey Night in Canada.” The games are played in Canada on English and French speaking channels.
The NHL 2014 schedule will be taking a short break from Feb. 9 -25. Their players make up the majority of the teams that are competing in the Olympics in Sochi this year. The games will start up again with four games on Feb. 26.
This year the playoffs are mostly based on divisions. The top three teams in every division will qualify for the initial 12 spots available for the playoffs. The next two spots, which are referred to as Wild Cards, will go to the next two teams that rank the highest based on points achieved during the regular season no matter which division they are in.
This new alignment begins with the 2013-2014 NHL season and will be in place for at least three years ending with the 2015-2016 season.
Hockey fans are among the most loyal sports fans in the world and the Stanley Cup playoffs are the culmination of their support and loyalty.