The best thing about hockey is that, despite being the most physical sport (and don't tell me football is when players stop and start every five seconds and then get extended breaks after each drive), players can put everything aside at the end of the day and maintain friendships. Hell, it's a sport in which players literally pound each other in the face with their fists and still forge lifelong friendships. In no other sport would a player become friends with someone he fought with during the season, but it's commonplace in the NHL. Jose Bautista isn't sipping pina coladas with Rougned Odor and Ron Artest isn't hanging out with any of the fans he fought in Detroit.
With that in mind, we're celebrating some of the most known bromances in today's NHL. For the most part, players form lasting bonds with teammates, but oftentimes a trade can separate the two players. Yet, while friends can become rivals, that doesn't mean bridges are burned in terms of bromances. Friends - at least the single ones - stay tight during the offseason and even train together, and sometimes take shots at each other during the season on social media. And in a league where personality is lacking, it's always nice to see players express themselves through friendships.
15 Mitch Marner/Matt Martin
When the Toronto Maple Leafs signed former New York Islander grinder Matt Martin to a four-year, $8 million contract in July, they did so with the intent that he would stabilize their bottom-six forward group and help provide guidance to the team's stable of impressive young players. The 27-year-old entered the season as one of the team's elder statesmen and has certainly had an impact on the team's rookies, judging by his bromance with Mitch Marner.
Since the start of the season, Martin and Marner have shared dinner together on the road and took their relationship to the next level during Toronto's bye week in January. Along with their respective significant others, the two vacationed together in the Cayman Island. They also frequently go to movies together on the road, because, as Martin puts it, "[Marner] needs help to get in." That's the kind of friendly chirping that completes an NHL bromance.
14 Tyler Seguin/Jamie Benn
No two players on any team are better friends than Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars. Seguin's Instagram account has featured numerous photos of the two Superstars sharing laughs, whether it's dressing up as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or interviewing each other.
Seguin, a former second overall pick, was traded from Boston to Dallas following the 2012-13 season because, well, he was a young guy who enjoyed having a good time. He has since matured, but the Dallas Stars have allowed him to showcase his personality when possible. Benn, meanwhile, was a soft-spoken fifth-round pick on the verge of stardom prior to Seguin's arrival. In their first year together, the two formed a relationship that has since spawned countless interviews, Tumblr accounts, and a feature story for ESPN.
13 Tyler Bozak/Phil Kessel
Toronto Maple Leafs center and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel might not be teammates anymore, but that hasn't affected the relationship they developed during the latter's time in Toronto. Bozak took a friendly jab at Kessel at the start of the year after the eccentric player was singled out by President Obama during the Penguins Stanley Cup visit to the White House - "His face got pretty red," said Bozak, laughing at the expense of his friend.
Bozie, as Kessel and other Maple Leaf teammates refer to him, formed an immediate bond with Kessel when he arrived in Toronto from Boston. The two were roommates for the duration of Kessel's time in Toronto and Bozak would often play the role of messenger for Kessel, who didn't seem to enjoy the spotlight in Toronto. The duo has even taken fishing vacations together in Florida during the offseason.
12 Jason Zucker/Charlie Coyle
There's a certain healing power that comes as a result of sharing a locker room with former rivals. When they were teenagers playing against each other at USA Hockey's Under-16 festival in Rochester, New York, Jason Zucker and Charlie Coyle hated each other, to say the least. Asked what he thought of Zucker back then, Coyle didn't mince words, noting his now teammate was a jerk.
After an on-ice scrum with another player he didn't know at the time, Coyle noted: "I look at the back of the shirt and see the name, 'Zucker,' and said to myself, 'I freaking hate this guy.'" Yet, when Zucker got married in the summer of 2016, Coyle was his best man. The duo is affectionately referred to as Zoyle by teammates and, like any true bromance, they've done the customary Step Brothers signature photo, and even created their own Coyle-Zucker 2016 T-shirts. No word on whether or not they won the popular vote among teammates.
11 John Tavares/Matt Moulson
John Tavares and Matt Moulson took incredibly different paths to the NHL, but as teammates on Long Island, the two strengthened a relationship that began as family friends in Mississauga, Ontario. Tavares, a former first overall pick in the NHL Draft, was also a highly-touted lacrosse player growing up and played with Moulson's younger brother, which led to the two families spending time together. Moulson, meanwhile, was a ninth round pick in the 2003 NHL Draft and didn't become a full-time NHLer until joining New York in 2009-10, which was Tavares' rookie season.
The two had instant chemistry on the ice, with Moulson scoring 30 goals in three consecutive seasons, despite playing just 29 NHL games prior to joining the Islanders. Their on-ice chemistry was aided by a strong friendship off the ice. Moulson was traded to Buffalo in 2013, but has kept close with Tavares.
10 Ryan Suter/Zach Parise
Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter and forward Zach Parise are such good friends that they accepted identical 13-year, $98 million contracts from the Minnesota Wild in the summer of 2012. Aside from the fact that the Wild is going to deeply regret those contracts in a few years, it shows how close the bond is between the two Americans - neither player wanted the financial edge over his friend and teammate.
Parise came to Minnesota from New Jersey and noted how important it was to him that Suter was offered an equal contract, which is just silly now given that Suter is far more valuable than Parise. They've been there for each other in tough situations ever since. Both players' fathers died in a span of months. Parise told NHL.com how vital their relationship was in helping them get through their losses: "Ryan had a similar relationship with his dad that I did with mine, so he knew exactly the feelings I was dealing with. To have someone you're a friend with going through the same thing was important."
9 Duncan Keith/Brent Seabrook
There's more than one noted bromance in Chicago. Separated by two years, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook have both spent their entire careers in the Windy City, teaming up to win three Stanley Cups and anchoring one of the league's best blue-lines over the past decade. There's obvious on-ice chemistry between the two, but their friendship extends off the ice.
Referred to by teammates as KeithBrook (hockey players aren't very creative), the competitive duo once shared a downtown condo together; if you've ever lived with a buddy you'll know how hard it is to remain friends afterwords, but that wasn't the case with KeithBrook. Says Keith: "I can say he's my best buddy and I've been playing alongside him for five years now so it goes back to when he was 17 and first drafted and I was 19 and at the prospects camp."
8 Tyler Seguin/Michael Del Zotto
If Jamie Benn is Tyler Seguin's go-to bro in Dallas, his best friend outside of The Lone Star State has to be Michael Del Zotto, a defenseman currently playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. While we've just covered two grown-up, mature bromances, the Seguin/Del Zotto is less so - the two young NHL players are a pair of playboys who have actually hung out together at the Playboy Mansion. Del Zotto has a history for mixing it up with adult stars - he was publicly shamed by Lisa Ann - but he has a perfect wingman in Seguin.
The players live together during the offseason and Del Zotto likes to joke that he has to take care of Seguin. Their friendship will hit the big screen in March with cameo appearances in Goon: Last of the Enforcers.
7 Tuukka Rask/Shawn Thornton
Goalies are peculiar characters, often keeping to themselves or maintaining longstanding friendships with other goalies (as you'll see below), but Tuukka Rask is a different breed. The Finnish netminder formed a bromance with teammate Shawn Thornton during their time together in Boston. Rask debuted for the Bruins in 2009-10, Thornton's third year with the team, and the pair remained teammates until 2014, when the Bruins opted not to re-sign the fourth line agitator. During that time, they became such good friends that they bought homes next door to each other and even purchased a boat together.
While Thornton is ten years older than Rask, they both have a fiery on-ice temper, so it's not too surprising they share a bromance, one that we can only assume is still maintained to this day. "Tuukka (Rask) didn’t buy me out of my half of the boat, so I think we’re still friends," Thornton said upon leaving Boston. "I think we'll still hang out."
6 Roberto Luongo/Eddie Lack
The Eddie Lack and Roberto Luongo bromance proves former teammates can remain friends. Luongo was the sole NHL Superstar of Twitter as @Strombone prior to Eddie Lack's arrival in Vancouver. As the backup to Luongo, Lack learned a lot from the Canadian netminder, particularly how to win Twitter.
Most NHL friendships remain in-room, but the Lack/Luongo bromance has manifested in many memorable moments and exchanges on social media, such as an instance in which the pair joked about Lack stealing the tires from Luongo's car, and who could forget the poop jokes? Showing the playful side of their relationship, Lack tweeted a happy Valentine's Day wish to Luongo last season, calling him a "little cutie," following it up with a wink emoji. It would only be weird if Lack also once had an image of Luongo on his mask - oh, he did.
5 Auston Matthews/Mitch Marner
Auston Matthews is both a best friend to Mitch Marner and the inspiration behind Marner's favorite song. That's right, the first overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft is now the subject of a rap song, aptly titled Auston Matthews, in which the artist, SVDVM, raps "Hit 'em with the four like Auston Matthews," a reference to the American scoring four goals in his NHL debut. Marner plays the song while he and Matthews share a ride to the rink together.
That isn't the only song they like to sing together. Cameras caught the rookie duo singing Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" earlier in the season, causing Twitter to blow up with a love affair for the dynamic duo. In only their first year together, there's no telling where this bromance might take the young stars.
4 Sidney Crosby/Nathan MacKinnon
Being from the same hometown isn't enough to form a lasting bromance, but it is when your hometown has a population of less than 30,000 and you're both first overall NHL draft picks. It's an incredibly amazing coincidence to have one small town produce two top draft picks, but it's not so surprising when you consider Nathan MacKinnon looked up to the older Sidney Crosby and even trains with him during the offseason.
Beyond training together, the duo take part in charitable initiatives together and have been spotted hanging out with Halifax rapper Classified - MacKinnon is apparently a decent freestyle rapper himself. If that's not enough proof, they cemented their All-Canadian bromance by appearing in a Tim Horton's commercial together in which they worked the drive-thru. Check, please.
3 Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews
Like KeithBrook mentioned earlier, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have forged an unbreakable bromance on the path to winning three Stanley Cups together. Many players have come and gone from the Blackhawks during that time, but like KeithBrook, the forward combination of Toews and Kane is untouchable.
Kane was one of the first to welcome "old man" Toews to Twitter when he joined a year ago and when Toews asked why Kane wasn't following him, the latter replied with a jab at Toews' "Mr. Serious" personality, noting he didn't think he would be interesting enough to follow. They're the league's best pair of friends when it comes to playful chirping, and have shown their affection for each other in numerous videos and even inspired hundreds of fan-created memes.
2 Brent Burns/Joe Thornton
Friends that grow beards together, stay together. That appears to be the case with Joe Thornton and Brent Burns. The San Jose Sharks teammates are owners of the best beards in the league (depending on how you view facial hear) and constantly share grooming advice with each other. In fact, they have even recently appeared in a Sharks ad for a Chia Pet (they're still a thing?) giveaway night. In the ad, the two friends sit in a barbershop, complimenting a fan on his "sweet chin curtain" and "spicy salad."
The outtakes from the commercial are even better. You can see the fun the two bearded stars genuinely have with each other, with Thornton cracking up at Burns' Chewbacca noises. Prior to the 2016-17 season, Thornton called Burns the best player in the world, which might be a stretch, but bros are gonna have bros backs.
1 Alex Galchenyuk/Brendan Gallagher
Maybe it's because hockey media in Montreal makes every city seem less interested in hockey - Toronto included - but the longstanding bromance between Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher is one of the most celebrated on social media. For good reason, however. The two have been friends since entering the league together with the Habs in 2012-13 and have affectionately become known as "The Gallys," given they share the same first syllable in their last name.
They're featured in an aptly titled short interview produced by the team called "Bromance," in which Galchenyuk chides Gallagher for not getting him anything for his birthday. Other highlights include the pair walking off a plane together in open suit jackets with no shirt underneath, playing Foosball, carving pumpkins, and putting together puzzles. And like true bros, they know enough about each other to be terrified of the prospect of either dating the other's sister.