This year, the 2020 Stanley Cup finals was the championship series of the National Hockey League’s 2019-2020 season. Competing for the Stanley Cup were the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Dallas Stars.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the National Hockey League regular season games were suspended on March 12. The league then formatted a 24-team playoff that would be played in two major “hub cities” in Canada, one in Toronto and Edmonton. When determining the teams that would participate, it was based on each club’s points percentage before the season was paused indefinitely.
The games were able to resume on Aug. 1. This was the first final series that was conducted entirely in one location since 1928 and the first to be played entirely in Canada since 1989.
The Tampa Bay Lightning were the Eastern Conference champions and the Dallas Stars were the Western Conference champions and both competed in the finals.
A hockey fan all of his life, senior Anthony Zampirri, business management major, weighed in on the finals. “I watched every game of every series,” he said. “I thought Dallas would win in seven games because they were an upset machine and kept winning against the odds.” He said how he has been a huge Dallas Stars fan since he became interested in the sport and would never count out his favorite team and truly believed in them.
He said that it was an absolute pleasure being able to watch his favorite team play in the Stanley Cup final, especially in a year that the odds were not in their favor. “It was my first time watching them go this deep into the playoffs and the last time they had won was in 1999 and I was just born,” he said.
Zampirri gave a shout out to Mike Modano, the highest point-scoring American hockey player. He says he has always looked up to the player. “When I was about 9 years old, I went to see the Stars play the Flyers. We had seats on the Flyers bench and I had my Mike Modano Stars jersey on,” he said.
A bit more of a casual fan, junior Zach Frame, criminology major, also was a big fan of the NHL playoffs this year. “Before the season had started, I thought the Boston Bruins were going to win the Stanley Cup,” he said. “On paper they had the best team before the season started.” As the season progressed and the Bruins did not make it to the final, Frame began to root for the Dallas Stars.
“I thought that the Stars were going to win in seven games, even though no one thought they were going to win,” he said. He mentioned that he had watched all of the Stanley Cup games and that the Stars played well and looked good in the final series and could potentially grasp the title.
Frame details how he has been a hockey fan all of his life and even started playing at a young age, all the way up to the age of 18. He says that hockey has always “been a huge part” of his life.
The Tampa Bay Lightning won the seven-game series, closing the series in game six and were the Stanley Cup champions for the season. The game was won in a shutout with a score of 2-0, the Lightning gaining the victory as the Stars remained scoreless.