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Black Friday in Seattle: Don’t shop. Watch hockey!

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Black Friday offers a few opportunities for Seattle sports fans to get acquainted with hockey.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s an exhilarating sport, as anyone who watches it or plays it will tell you.

It’s also violent and ruthless at times. When someone is standing between you and the goal, knocking them over is part of the game. If a fight ensues, who cares? It’s part of the culture.

But shopping on Black Friday is just too barbaric of a sport for me. I don’t have the stomach for it. Also, I don’t like getting up early in the morning just to wait in line to buy the latest whatever that kids just have to have.

So I’ll watch hockey instead.

I hope many of my fellow Seattle sports fans will do the same. For a community that seems on the verge of landing an NHL franchise in the next few years, Friday offers a few opportunities to get to know the sport a little bit.

2017 Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown

10 a.m. PST; NBC, NHL.TV

This game features the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on the road against another legendary franchise, the Boston Bruins. NHL.com lists five reasons you should watch this game, but it boils down to a match-up between two likely Hall of Famers - Sidney Crosby for Pittsburgh and Patrice Bergeron for Boston.

Crosby has achieved greatness in his career, but has had an up and down season after leading the Penguins to their second consecutive NHL championship. Want to know what he’s capable of? Check out the following highlights from the playoffs last year.

While Crosby is an offensive stalwart, Bergeron is considered by some to be in the conversation for best defensive forward of all time. Here’s what he can do.

New York Islanders at Philadelphia Flyers

1 p.m. PST; NBCSP, NHL.TV

The main reason to watch this game is to see Seattle Thunderbirds alumnus Matthew Barzal in action. His career with the Islanders is off to a fantastic start with five goals and 15 assists in 21 games.

Here are some highlights from his Seattle years.

Local WHL

Spokane Chiefs at Everett Silvertips

7:35 p.m. PST; Tickets still available; WHL Webcast

Any hockey fan will tell you that seeing a game in person is infinitely better than seeing it on television, even in the high definition era. If you want to know what it’s like to attend a hockey game. The WHL puts a quality product on the ice.

Seattle Thunderbirds at Victoria Royals

7:05 p.m. PST; WHL Webcast

The Thunderbirds are on the road, but the WHL webcasts aren’t a bad way to watch.