HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- For the first time since 2004, ABC13 is broadcasting the NHL's Stanley Cup Final. Game 1 of the best-of-seven series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche is Wednesday in Denver.
"If you watch hockey, these are two teams you want to watch," Bobby Reynolds explained during an interview with ABC13 Wednesday. "It'll be fun, it'll be fast. Stars galore. If you watch it, you'll be hooked on hockey forever."
Reynolds spent 18 years in professional hockey, including two with the minor league Houston Aeros. He currently runs his own hockey academy and serves as Coach-in-Chief for the Houston Wild Hockey Club - a youth travel program. ABC13 visited with him at Bellerive Ice Center in advance of the Stanley Cup Final.
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"You'd be hard-pressed to have anybody not pick these as the two teams to make the Final," Reynolds said of the matchup between Colorado and Tampa Bay, with the Lightning being the two-time reigning champs.
"You have the up-and-coming team that had to lose a couple times to get to the final, and now you have to beat the best," Reynolds said of the Avalanche. "They're high octane, no question about it. They have a really good goalie, too. They have some offensive defensemen who can take chances and join the play. It's high octane, but their stay-home defensemen are really good."
When the Stanley Cup Final is played on ABC13, you'll see plenty of players - if not all - sporting facial hair. It's a longtime playoff hockey tradition.
"It goes way back when there was only six teams," Reynolds explained. "They'd take the train back and forth between games. The players could shower, but didn't have any place to shave - so they grew beards and it grew into a superstition. The old school guys now, mostly Americans and Canadians, you'll see them with beards still. there's some trepidation if you don't have it - so someone on the team has to have it."
Colorado is going more than a week between games, while Tampa Bay is coming off the Rangers series that ended Saturday night.
Games 1 and 2 are in Denver before the series shifts to Tampa for Monday's Game 3.
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