Healthy rivalries make sports better. The more intense the sport, the more intense the rivalry. And we’ll ask you this: which sport is more intense than hockey? We can think of some intense sports for sure, but hockey is always floating on top. Not just because we’re hockey fans, it’s because a game of hockey is a very physical competition, with a very dedicated fan base. Hockey fans are showing their passion for the game everywhere they go. Sportsbooks, hockey-themed games on UK live casinos, endless discussions on Reddit, dedicated podcasts, and huge fan groups on social media are just some examples. So let’s go through some of the best rivalries in hockey history (without a particular order).
Boston Bruins – Montreal Canadiens
This one has been considered the greatest rivalry in NHL history for a very good reason. It dates back to 1929 when two teams pitted against each other for the first time. Ever since, they have been battling it out on the ice, with an unmatched intensity and passion. Both teams have had their share of wins and losses against each other.
Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals
Every game feel like a playoff. This rivalry was born in the early 1990s when they met at the Stanley Cup. Fueled by a rich history and driven by the fierce clashing of hockey titans Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, their games were always a true spectacle. The rivalry reached its peak in the 2009 playoffs when they played one of the most epic series in NHL history.
New Jersey Devils – New York Rangers
Whenever they face off, it’s like the whole area holds its breath. The Devils with their tough defense, and the Rangers, always gunning for goals, it’s a clash of styles. Each game is a nail-biter and the fans are super passionate. It’s more than hockey, it’s bragging rights, a real edge-of-your-seat kind of rivalry. Every match feels like it’s got a story of its own.
National Team Rivalries
Sweden – Finland
Nordic countries are known for their competitiveness. Finland has always been a top contender in international competitions, but so is Sweden. These two nations share a fierce rivalry on the ice and have faced each other multiple times in major championships. The rivalry extends beyond just hockey. Both countries often compete against each other in various sports.
Canada – USA
The rivalry between Canada and the United States is one of the oldest and most intense in history. Both countries have a deep passion for hockey, and their games always create an electric atmosphere. The two nations have faced each other in countless international competitions, including multiple Olympic finals.
Canada – Russia
On one side you’ve got Canada, all heart and skill, and on the other, you have Russia’s lightning speed and finesse. This rivalry dates back to the days of the Soviet Union when their national team was considered one of the best in the world. Both countries have produced some of the most unforgettable moments in hockey history.
Individual Player Rivalries
Sidney Crosby – Alex Ovechkin
Two of the greatest players in the modern era, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin have been rivals since their early days in the NHL. Both are captains and have multiple awards and records under their belts. This rivalry has been considered by many as the greatest one of our modern times.
Steve Yzerman – Joe Sakic
The rivalry between Steve Yzerman and Joe Sakic goes beyond just their on-ice competition. Both players were captains when their teams were top contenders for the Stanley Cup. This rivalry was fueled by their similar playing styles and leadership abilities, making it one of the most iconic ones.
Patrick Roy – Martin Brodeur
The rivalry between goaltenders Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur defined an era in hockey. Both players were dominant in the net and their teams relied on them heavily for success. Their matchups often featured amazing saves and intense battles for the top spot as the best goaltender in the league.