Stanley Pup advocates for animal adoption, kicks off the NHL championship

As the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs kick off, 16 adoptable dogs are stepping into the spotlight for a friendly contest to raise awareness about animal adoption. Photo courtesy Jess Rapfogel/NHL Images

The National Hockey League (NHL) has reported record TV ratings for the broadcast of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last month, with more than eight million viewers across North America. This week, the numbers might just increase with an inaugural paw-some program to kick off the NHL championship.

The first-ever Stanley Pup, a playful competition among four-legged players, will debut ahead of the Stanley Cup to raise awareness on animal adoption. The inaugural event will feature 16 adoptable dogs from Petco Love partner shelters and rescues. Each canine contender, including Sergei Bobruffsky and Connor McDoodle, represents one of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs qualifiers.

Player card photos courtesy NHL/Delia Brengel

“I’ll tell you, I’m really touched by the organic love and affection that hockey players have for dogs and helping rescue animals,” says show producer, Michael Levitt. “So it just felt like a really good marriage because the players are already invested in helping these animals.”

Special appearances by celebrity dog lovers and NHL players are to be expected from the show, the NHL shares in a statement.

All 32 NHL teams will be represented by adoptable dogs from shelters. The 90-minutes show will broadcast on NHL Network and ESPN+ in the United States on Friday, June 7 at 8 p.m. ET, and on Sportsnet in Canada on Saturday, June 8 at 6 p.m.

For more information, visit the NHL website.