There’s no doubt that 2019 was a year filled with amazing highlight-reel plays in the NHL, but it was the online moments that really made it memorable.
Ranting about absolutely nothing and then hitting that “send tweet” button in pure bliss, is really what hockey fandom is all about.
With that in mind, let’s go over some of the best viral moments from this past year.
The Sebastian Aho Offer Sheet
Something that is always lurking as a possibility but mostly shrugged off as an unlikely scenario, offer sheets have plagued the minds of NHL fans that want their teams to get some restricted free agent talent.
Well, Carolina Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho signed an offer sheet from the Montreal Canadiens this summer, making the impossible suddenly real.
Even if the Hurricanes knew right away they would match it, it provided some solid discourse between the two fanbases.
Now that I'm done with all the comments from Dundon today, two things are abundantly clear:— Veronica 🌶 🐑 (@chile_pepper) July 2, 2019
It wasn't easy at all to write that $22M cheque. Guy's pissed about it.
Aho really wanted out.
Most Canadiens fans wanted to believe that Aho’s true desire was to play in Montreal and Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon really took a hit with the bonus structure of the forward’s new contract.
But it was safe to say that Canes fans did not believe their young star displayed any malicious intent for signing the offer sheet.
i think the hab’s r reading 2 much n2 what the offersheet accomplishe’s 4 sepe, i ‘ll believe aho want’s 2 b somewhere else when he hold’s out,— hurricane’s fan twiter, (@CanesOmbudsman) July 1, 2019
This summer-long heated discussion between the two Eastern fanbases created one of the most entertaining online rivalries that still continue through the regular season.
Golden Knights and Sharks playoff penalty controversy
It might seem like forever ago, but the 2019 postseason was filled to the brim with some perfect online content, but the game-deciding penalty miscue in Game 7 of the first-round series between the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights was easily a candidate for the best social moment.
With the dramatics heightened, the Golden Knights were given a five-minute major penalty after Sharks captain Joe Pavelski was found bleeding profusely from his head in the faceoff dot. It turns out that instead of a Vegas player causing the injury, Pavelski stumbled backward into Vegas forward Paul Statsny and fell to the ice, hitting his head.
After a brief moment, the referees gave Golden Knights forward Cody Eakin a major penalty for cross-checking and a game misconduct with just over 10 minutes left in the series-deciding game.
The Sharks proceeded to score four goals in the most insane five minutes of the postseason and crawled their way back to eventually knock Vegas out of the playoffs.
It was a prime opportunity to be shocked at NHL officiating, but some fans viewed it as an evening-out of how the series was up to that point.
the golden knights acting like the refs weren't working to their advantage for the entire series is certainly something. the sharks got a call that maybe they shouldn't have. the knights weren't called on tons of shit they should have been. clean up your penalty kill instead.— sie ✨ (@nowyousieme) April 24, 2019
It isn’t a controversial on-ice decision if there isn’t a quote of a player’s outrage.
Jonathan Marchessault on the penalty call: “It’s a fucking joke. It’s embarrassing is what it is” #VegasBorn— Justin Emerson (@J15Emerson) April 24, 2019
This blew up in the NHL’s face, so much so that they apologized for the miscue.
Golden Knights fans can always blame officiating for why they aren’t Stanley Cup champions.
Every Single RFA Negotiation
This summer was lauded to be one filled with tense negotiations between one of the most talented restricted free agent classes that we have seen in a while, and their respective teams. And it did not disappoint.
Headlined by Mitch Marner — mainly because he’s a Toronto Maple Leaf — the group of skilled forwards and a couple of defencemen sprinkled in there, got a lot of money.
It started slow, but with every contract being announced, fans voiced their opinions louder each time — erupting at the very sight of the press release.
To see fans argue about what a player is worth endlessly was like Christmas in July.
The Maple Leafs losing to the Bruins, yet again
There is simply nothing better than watching fans spiral into despair because one single team is able to always get the better of them, no matter what.
Just find your favourite Leafs fan on Twitter, and look at their tweets on April 23 to brighten your day.
Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues
The reigning Stanley Cup champions deserve a small shoutout for what they were able to achieve — winning their first championship but also winning everyone’s hearts along the way.
Becoming viral isn’t always in a notorious way, it can be heartfelt as well.
The Colorado/Toronto summer blockbuster
On July 1, the Maple Leafs and Avalanche exchanged a couple of homegrown talents in search for improving some areas of weakness, and the hockey world was on fire for a couple of hours.
With Nazem Kadri heading to Colorado and Tyson Barrie going east to Toronto, both teams lost some of their most popular characters and fan favourites.
In the Avalanche’s case, they also lost some quality social content as well.
Don Cherry finally getting canned
It took a final outrageous moment on national television during the first intermission of Hockey Night In Canada, but Don Cherry was finally thrown out of the hockey world. The 85-year-old man that was unfortunately cemented into the culture of hockey was given the boot.
This began a series of inward looks throughout hockey culture, spawning a series of era-defining moves that made most fans feel like this sport is heading in the right direction. Coaches that went on racist tirades lost their job and even teams outside the NHL recognized that similar behaviour was not to be tolerated anymore.
In a slightly less literal way, Cherry getting fired was able to become viral throughout the hockey world and cause some significant changes.
I’m glad I ended on a positive note.
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