Not everyone has that special someone to be with on Valentine’s Day, or maybe your idea of a fun night in is to enjoy the sporting world. Whatever the case is, this guide is essential for those of you who will be tuning into a night of hot competition, not romance. It takes two to tango, and we have some spicy matchups set for February 14. So don’t worry if you only have your sports-watching squad with you on Valentine’s Day, just get your popcorn, chips, comfy chair and reliable stream, and get comfortable with this sports guide in hand for a day of televised athleticism. We have compiled a list of the games and events that can pique a variety of interests and provide you with some storylines to follow and become the expert in the room.
There are three NHL games on Valentine’s Day. We start off with a powerhouse Eastern Conference matchup between the streaking young Maple Leafs and an intriguing Columbus team looking to improve upon last year’s playoff run. The Maple Leafs, led by young guns Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and goaltender Frederik Andersen look to tame a Columbus team that’s in the thick of an intense playoff race in the Metropolitan Division. This matchup features lots of young talent and two possible Vezina contenders tending the twine. At the same time, there is the matchup between a Montreal team having a down season and a Colorado team who’s had a huge resurgence from a disastrous past season. And finally, Roberto Luongo returns to the city where he spent eight seasons as the Florida Panthers and Vancouver Canucks rekindle a tough love in a battle of young teams looking to next year. Montreal heads into Colorado sixth in the Atlantic with more hopes of getting prized prospect Rasmus Dahlin, then gracing Quebec with another Stanley Cup. Colorado, on the other hand, has shown that last year was an aberration. After finishing with one of the worst records in NHL history, Colorado is closing in on a playoff spot in the ultra-competitive Central Division after trading away Matt Duchene and getting Nathan MacKinnon to show why he was drafted first overall in 2013. In Vancouver, pride will be on the line. After a frustrating 4-1 loss to Carolina, Vancouver goaltender Jacob Markstrom called out himself and his team saying, “I’m not good enough, and we got a lot of guys on our team that’s not good enough either to be in this league. It’s embarrassing.” Vancouver looks to rally and prove Markstrom wrong as they go into what should be an exciting matchup against the Florida Panthers.
There is a slate of games scheduled for Valentine’s Day in the Association, with 12 games on tap and only six teams not in action. For the hometown fans, we have the soaring Raptors in action against the reeling Chicago Bulls. Every game down the stretch will be crucial for Toronto as they look to secure the first seed in the Eastern Conference and clinch home-court advantage in the playoffs. The marquee matchup of the night though will come in the late set of games, as Golden State will travel to the northernmost (it’s not Toronto) city in the NBA to take on the Portland Trail Blazers. Two of the top three scoring backcourts will be on display as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson duel against Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
UEFA Champion’s League
Two of Europe’s powerhouse football clubs are set to lock horns on Valentine’s Day as the Champions League resumes. While there will surely be fireworks on the field, there will be no love lost between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, who are seeking an advantage going into the second leg. PSG has coasted through Ligue 1 this season, carried by the world’s most expensive player, Neymar, along with other talented young phenoms such as Kylian Mbappe and Julian Draxler. Meanwhile, things are not as rosy in the Spanish capital. Cristiano Ronaldo and co. have had an inconsistent season thus far with many losses coming from blown leads. As a result, they sit well behind their arch rivals FC Barcelona in the La Liga standings, and only have the Champions League as their final trophy to defend. In what is surely the tie of the Round of 16, both teams will be looking to prove their critics wrong while making a statement that will send headlines across the world.
This list would not be complete without including the sports highlight of the winter season. The world turns their attention to PyeongChang for 17 days, and the festivities run through Valentine’s Day. Canada will be looking to add to their medal count and have their hopes in some exciting events. Early in the morning around 5:00 a.m., youngster Ivanie Blondin will look to win her first Olympic medal in the Women’s 1000 metre speed skating race. After speed skating, we head to the thrilling Luge for the Men’s doubles finals, where racers have only a carbon fibre board as they reach speeds of nearly 150 km/h! Lastly, right before midnight, don’t miss Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford (3) go for gold in the Pairs Free Figure Skating final.