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15 Reasons Why Hockey Is The Best Sport On Earth

Reasons Why Hockey Is the Best Sport on Earth

Los Angeles Kings arena
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From playoff beards to penalty shots, I present to you 15 reasons why hockey is undoubtedly the most magnificent sport on the planet.

15. Penalty Shots

Minnesota Wild
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15. Penalty Shots

Detroit Red Wings
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Penalty shots are awarded when a player loses a scoring opportunity on a breakaway due to a foul committed by an opponent. They are essentially a second chance at a goal that could have been.

14. Plenty of Games to Watch

Tampa Bay Lightning
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14. Plenty of Games to Watch

Pittsburgh Penguins
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Each team in the NHL plays a total of 82 games during the regular season, so there are plenty of opportunities to feed your needs. Sorry, football fans.

13. Goalies

New Jersey Devils
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13. Goalies

Martin Brodeur
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The goalie is the backbone of his team. Goalies are a rare breed, and their twists, cat-like reflexes and acrobatic saves are always a pleasure to watch.

12. Power Plays

Penalty Box
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12. Power Plays

Colorado Avalanche
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Power plays: The hockey player's timeout. If you act a fool on the ice, you get thrown in the sin bin. As a result of being thrown in the sin bin, your team now has one fewer man on the ice for two or more minutes (depending on your wrongdoing). Power plays are the perfect opportunity to get ahead of your opponent, or for your opponent to score a shorthanded goal.

11. Fights

Hockey fight
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11. Fights

New York Rangers
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If managed correctly, hockey fights provide fans with extracurricular fun. Fights are thrilling and instantly get both the players and crowd riled up.

10. Shootouts

Philadelphia Flyers
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10. Shootouts

Carolina Hurricanes
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Like most sports, if a winner isn't declared during regulation, the game goes into overtime. During the regular season, hockey goes into overtime as well, but only for five minutes. If a winner isn't crowned at the end of those five minutes, the game then goes into a shootout. The shootout is the ultimate skills competition, and what better way to determine a victor than a good ole' fashioned duel?

9. Players Drinking/Eating Out of the Stanley Cup

2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five
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9. Players Drinking/Eating Out of the Stanley Cup

2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five
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After the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals, the triumphant team spends their summer with The Holy Grail. Each player has unique plans for the cup, but one ongoing trend most players take part in is drinking/eating out of the cup. That's right, the NHL allows players to take home the most coveted piece of hardware in professional sports and have ice cream out of it.

8. Playoff Beards

Columbus Blue Jackets
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8. Playoff Beards

Baby
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Most hockey players begin growing facial stubble at the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Players keep their whiskers until their team gets knocked out (or ultimately wins). Other sports have adapted the ideology of the playoff beard, but hockey players have mastered it.

7. The Heritage Classic and The Winter Classic

Winter Classic
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7. The Heritage Classic and The Winter Classic

NHL Winter Classic
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The Heritage Classic pays homage to the origins of ice hockey, and The Winter Classic has been a New Year's Day staple for hockey fans since 2008. Nothing beats an outdoor hockey game.

6. The Physicality

Boston Bruins
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6. The Physicality

Montreal Canadiens
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Hockey is an extremely physical sport. Hockey players are continuously skating up and down the ice, and their bodies undergo brutal beatings.

5. The Toughness

Pascal Dupuis
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5. The Toughness

Pittsburgh Penguins
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I have seen hockey players break ribs, ankles, lose teeth, get their faces busted open, and continue to play as if nothing was wrong with them. Unless it's a fatal injury or an injury that has left the player immobile, players will push through the pain until there's a line change or a whistle blown.

4. It's Played on Ice

New York Rangers
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4. It's Played on Ice

Los Angeles Kings
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There are other sports played on ice such as curling, but adding the unique element of ice, plus the skills needed to dominate the game makes hockey a one-of-a-kind sport.

3. It's Fast-Paced

Florida Panthers
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3. It's Fast-Paced

New York Islanders
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Golf is an excellent sport to watch if you want to take a nap. Don't even think about leaving the room during a hockey game, or you will miss five goals, an entire line brawl, and Sidney Crosby magically possess the ability to grow proper facial hair.

2. The Skill

Washington Capitals
Gary A. Vasquez - USA Today

2. The Skill

Ryan Getzlaf
Gary A. Vasquez - USA Today

Hockey players must possess an unbelievable amount of dexterity to perform at an elite level on the ice. They are unlike any other athlete.

1. Because It's the Cup

The Stanley Cup
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1. Because It's the Cup

Los Angeles Kings
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Playoff hockey is the greatest professional sports spectacle on the face of the planet. An indescribable feeling overcomes you when you see the diligent Stanley Cup champions celebrate their feat by carrying Lord Stanley's mug around the ice.

Amanda Sklarek is a Pittsburgh Penguins/NHL writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandabukowski, “Like” her on Facebook or add her to your network on Google.