Wednesday night, someone asked me about whether I covered hockey for SB Nation, and I explained, "I don't understand the game very well, so no. But I think hockey's awesome, if that makes sense."
Because you have to love hockey. From a complete novice's perspective, the game itself is set up like a kamikaze version of regular sports—gigantic athletes... on skates... with giant sticks... surrounded by glass... bodyslamming each other in said glass. From a conceptual perspective, how could you NOT watch hockey? It's like quidditch, on steroids, on ice.
But just as great as the game, you've got the players. It's hard to say without sounding demeaning, but they're just not like other athletes. In a good way. The fans, too. It's a whole different culture.
Because, see... Hockey players are sort of insane even on a regular day. They party harder and more often than other athletes. They hit each other for fun. They're shameless and unapologetic about hitting on every girl within a 50-foot radius. And yet, they're hockey players. You can't get mad at them. It's just... what they do. You may call these generalizations, and that's fair, but I'm just speaking from my experience and those of my friends. Everybody has a story about some crazy hockey player(s) they once knew. And, for the record, this is the best hockey player on earth.
...But nowhere will you see hockey players in all their bear-soaked glory better than the Stanley Cup. Any sports team can celebrate a championship, but hockey teams can celebrate. When I was at Boston College, one of my roommates was manager on the hockey team. And when they won the National Championship my junior year, I swear to God that team partied for like 14 straight days.
They don't just do it, they do it right. And it's awesome. So with that in mind, and thanks to the wonderful folks at Getty Images and the Associated Press, let's go back through some of last night's best photos. It started slow, but once the Blackhawks realized Patrick Kane's overtime shot had gone in, the party began...
Cue benches clearing...
Annnnd.... Quick! Everybody jump together deliriously hug one another:
And then it was time to bring out the Stanley Cup, the coolest trophy in sports...
Mind you, this all happened in Philadelphia, but there were still a few 'Hawks fans on hand to share in the ecstasy. Also: a textbook example here. Hockey fans are awesome.
Quick! Everyone touch the Cup...
Now, everyone hoist the Cup. Let's go big from here on out. First up, Jonathan Toews...
Then, Brent Sopel, with a "HOLY SH-- WE F--ING WON!" look on his face.
And Brian Campbell with a lovely lady at his side. Girls in hockey jerseys= Awesome.
Tomas Kopecky ditches the jersey, because his pads look more badass...
"OMG LET'S DO A GROUP PHOTO!"
And then, somewhere, Adam Burlsh found a headdress... Sounds about right.
Yeah, this could get kind of messy.
You know how I said earlier that the Stanley Cup was the coolest trophy in all of sports? That statement might be construed as controversial, especially with the World Cup right around the corner. But, I ask you: Can you drink beer and champagne out of the World Cup? No? LAME.
Do you have a bucket list? Because chugging beer out of the Stanley Cup should be on it.
Don't worry if you spill. That's part of the experience.
BOOM! Tomas Kopecky just won the team chugging contest. Take notes, kids.
For Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane, things got a little hazy around midnight...
Not that the night ended there... Below, the Blackhawks' team plane. Can you imagine how much fun that flight was? I mean, good God.
And then... Back to the party.
And the ecstasy continues...
Seriously. Does it get any better than this? That's where our pictures of the Blackhawks come to an end, but you'd have to think the celebration is continuing, even now. And even though they're not on the ice or in the locker room... In Chicago, surrounded by delirious, worshipping fans, it's only going to get sweeter.
Winning a championship in any sport would be completely amazing, but all things considered, could there be anything more fun than winning the Stanley Cup? Congrats, Chicago.