Nathan MacKinnon and Erik Johnson hug after winning Stanley Cup
(Screenshot/ ESPN)

This is what it’s all about.

Nathan MacKinnon and Erik Johnson shared an emotional embrace after the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup on Sunday. The Avs defeated the back-to-back defending Cup Champs, the Tampa Bay Lightning, in six games.

Colorado won 2-1 over the Lightning in Game 6 at Amalie Arena. As soon as the buzzer sounded, MacKinnon and Johnson immediately found each other on the ice to celebrate. The two longtime teammates shared a passionate hug.

Johnson has been on the Avalanche ever since MacKinnon made his NHL debut in 2013-14. After nine long years, Johnson and MacKinnon finally won it all together. You can see the relief in their faces as they hugged on the ice.

Check out MacKinnon and Johnson’s emotional embrace below:


These are the type of moments that make sports so great. Johnson and MacKinnon have both overcome adversity to get to this point. Johnson told ESPN he was contemplating retirement at the end of last season due to injuries.

After Bill Daly presented Avs’ captain Gabriel Landeskog with the Stanley Cup, Johnson was the first player to receive the trophy. The 34-year-old defenseman has been in the NHL since 2007 and had been waiting a long time for this moment.

MacKinnon, meanwhile, hasn’t hesitated to voice his frustration about losing. After Colorado lost in the second round for the third straight year last postseason, MacKinnon told reporters “I’m in my ninth year now and haven’t won shit.”

MacKinnon finished the 2022 postseason with 13 goals and 24 points, while Johnson contributed one goal and five points. Both players finding each other after winning the Cup shows that they know how much this means to one another.

There will be plenty of wild and crazy Stanley Cup celebrations this summer, but MacKinnon and Johnson’s hug shouldn’t be forgotten. The raw emotion that comes with winning hockey’s ultimate prize can’t be beaten.