The Inaugural Stanley Pup

Stanley Pup
Stanley Pup Graphic | ESPN

For the first time, the NHL hosted an official Stanley Pup showcasing 16 different dogs that are currently waiting to be adopted. There was one dog for each team that made the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year, including Connor McDoodle and Sergei Bobruffsky, who faced off in honor of the Stanley Cup Finals. The NHL partnered with national nonprofit organization Petco Love, all of the dogs that were showcased are available for adoption through shelters nationwide.

NHL players from across the league were featured in the Stanley Pup, including Kyle Burroughs (San Jose Sharks), Anton Forsberg (Ottawa Senators), Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles Kings), Nick Suzuki (Montreal Canadiens), Mackenzie Weegar (Calgary Flames), Trevor Van Riemsdyk and Tom Wilson (Washington Capitals) and John Tortorella, the coach of the Philadelphia Flyers. All 32 teams were represented by a four-legged friend during the broadcast, most of them are available for adoption as well.

The Stanley Pup was a three period “game” and was split into Team East and Team West with the goals being the dogs dropping a toy into the goal. Nikita Poocherov and Connor McDoodle had a hilarious rival with some good old fashioned dog wrestling going on.

A few highlights of the game were when Anze Kopitarf decided that it was time for a mid-game snack and was seen chewing on the net. Around the same time, Kopitarf and Nikita Poocherov tore up the blue line and ran with it, sparking a handful of other dogs to join in on the madness. There was also a “kenalty box” filled with toys and dog beds, where they would go after a penalty (typically having an accident on the “ice.”)

During the broadcast, Alexa Landestoy inducted quite a few Stanley Pup Hall of Famers. A few of those inductees were Nicklas Lickstrom, Wagomir Wagr, Martin Bonedeur and Wayne Grrretzky. The rest of the game was high energy, Nikita Poocherov was named theMVP of the game after getting the first hat trick in Stanley Pup history, and David Pupstrnak was awarded a Gordie Howell hat trick after two goals, one assist and a fight that sent him to the kenalty box. Team East took home the first ever Stanley Pup winning the game 7-5.

Throughout the broadcast the various NHL players were given a few minutes to talk about the dogs that are up for adoption and showcase each dog from the other 16 teams. John Tortorella also spoke about dogs that are up for adoption and his foundation, where he partners with trusted rescue agencies to help homeless and abused animals. The Tortorella Foundation also provides grants for spaying, neutering, sanctuaries and various other things.

Dogs are just the best. Every day you come home, you know, after a big or a tough game, they’re always happy to see you. Just to see what dogs can do for people, and then obviously a lot of them have tough beginnings.

Tom Wilson, Washington Capitals

Some of the dogs featured in the Stanley Pup, and many other animals are looking for their FURever home and can be found at or in your local animal shelter. The Stanley Pup is still available to watch on ESPN+ OnDemand.

Jayd Serdy

I grew up in Seattle mostly following baseball as a kid and more recently got into hockey. Since then it’s been my favorite thing, I love the community surrounding it, the people it’s brought into my life, the opportunities and of course the game itself. When I’m not watching hockey I spend a lot of time outside with my dog and following all kinds of other sports!

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