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24 Reasons Why Hockey Players Are Actually Big, Cuddly Sweethearts

They're the best.

Hockey players have a reputation for being tough, brutal, manly men. And for the most part, that stereotype holds up. But among the people who cover sports, they're also consistently considered the most approachable and friendly athletes in any league. Here are some of the reasons why.

24. Because they go out of their way to make their fans happy.

23. Almost as a matter of routine.

22. All the time.

21. In the big business of sports, just acknowledging that the fans are there at all can mean a whole lot.

20. Even better: waving at them.

19. And nobody does it better than hockey players.

18. In fact, they're perfect husband/dad material.

17. Because they know how to keep things light.

16. They don't take themselves too seriously.

15. They're not afraid to be silly.

14. And they tell it like it is.

13. And that includes the most reserved players in the league.

12. Because they're really just a big bunch of teddy bears.

11. Who aren't afraid to express their softer side.

10. Whether it's with teammates.

9. Opponents.

8. Or just for fun.

7. But they're also very caring.

6. And know that even the smallest gesture, like getting your nails painted...

5. Or saying hello...

4. Can make a big difference.

3. Because hockey players are full of love.

2. And at the end of the day it's all about respect.

1. And no matter what, a handshake is always necessary.