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Start of Stanley Cup Finals allows for non-hockey fans to learn about the sport

Chicago Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw, second from left, celebrates with teammates after scoring the winning goal in a third overtime against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the NHL Finals on June 12 at the United Center in Chicago.

Courtesy of MCT

By now you’ve at least heard that the NHL’s championship series, the Stanley Cup is happening. But it should not be just a thing that is happening, it is a chance for you to learn about one of the all-time greatest sports, and one that is steeped in long-held traditions.

That’s why the NHL’s championship series is named after Lord Stanley. Other hockey awards are named just as uniquely. MVP of the playoffs trophy? Nope, it’s the called the Conn Smythe trophy.

Tradition is also why you will hear plenty about how the two teams playing, the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins, are part of the Original Six. Fortunately, this phrase is not as difficult to figure out as the trophies-the Original Six are the first six teams to make up the NHL.

Then there are playoff beards. Shaving is frowned upon during the playoffs, ensuring the championship is between the burliest, manliest men.

Some viewers are thrown off at their first encounter with hockey. The terminology along with the seemingly random rules make it a sport that can’t just be casually picked up. But the rules are not really that random, and there are only two you need to know in offsides and icing.

Ask any hockey fan, and they’ll most likely love to explain those two rules. True fans are so eager to spread their beloved sport to others they jump at the chance to convert someone to a fan.

And who wouldn’t want to be a fan? Hockey has the passing beauty of soccer, the hitting of football, the hand-eye coordination of baseball, and the grace of an ice skater.

This Stanley Cup series is already shaping up to be one of the best in a while. Two great teams with great history facing off, beards fully grown in, injuries and bruises piling up, all for the season long goal of reaching this point. After winning the first game in triple overtime 4-3, the Blackhawks are looking to even the series tonight against Boston, who holds a 2-1 advantage.

As an Ohioan you may feel there’s nothing in it for you, as the Columbus Blue Jackets are perennial let downs. But the Jackets actually finished the season as one of the hottest teams in the NHL. While it’s true that they stunk up the rink for the first half of the season, they really hit their stride after making some late season trades, and next season should be even better.

So the time to become a fan is now-just jump right in. You can start by watching the game tonight with a friend who loves hockey or just head down to a local establishment that is showing the game. The puck is scheduled to drop in Boston at 8 p.m. and who knows? Maybe you’ll soon find that you have a new favorite sport.

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