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Japers' Rink GIF Tournament: And the Winner is...

Collage by Brendan Sheridan

What a long, strange trip it's been.

Over the last month we've picked out the best and brightest from a season worth of GIFs, pitted them against each other and, with your help, pared them down until just two remained. The two finalists represented the very best of their respective brackets, each dominating in every round leading up to this last matchup - a true clash of the titans, as Alex Ovechkin juggling the puck past Carey Price took on Nicklas Backstrom making the slickest of passes.

But only one could emerge victorious. Only one could get its name engraved on the imaginary Stanley Cup of GIFs. Only one could capture your hearts and votes to win the first-ever Japers' Rink GIF Tournament.

And that one was...

Nicklas Backstrom being awesome, in "Swede Dish".

Backstrom's silky-smooth toe drag and cross-crease pass to Troy Brouwer toppled Ovechkin's puck-juggling by a narrow margin, taking 53% of the vote to earn its spot atop the heap.


It's not the only winner being crowned today, of course. Yesterday we asked you to vote on your favorite from the "didn't quite make the cut" crop of GIFs, some of our favorites that weren't quite tournament-worthy but which still deserved a bit of time in the spotlight. And after capturing over a quarter of the votes cast, the champion of this one-day, winner-take-all NIT was...

Little Braden Nienaber's knockout punch. Down goes Wilson!


And so the inaugural GIF Tournament comes to a close.

Over the last four weeks we've gotten to see some great moments, some funny moments, some moments that made us go "wow" all over again - a little bit of fun nostalgia to help pass the long summer days. And when all was said and done, almost 5300 votes were cast, 904 of which helped propel Swede Dish to victory.

We hope you had fun reliving some of these moments from the past year. With the 2014-15 season just around the corner, it's time for a new set of GIFs to emerge... and begin challenging for next year's title!

As always, special shout-out to our resident GIFmaster Brendan Sheridan, without whom we would have no tournament at all.