Why are we still playing hockey on the first day of summer?

The calendar says it's the first day of summer, there are solstice celebrations all over the world and a major heat wave is blanketing much of the United States.

Please tell me why we are still playing hockey.

Game 6 of the Stanley Cup playoffs will be held Friday night in Edmonton with a possible Game 7 Monday night in Sunrise unless the Florida Panthers can finally eliminate the Oilers.

A sport that cries winter - ice, skates, gloves, cold - is being contested in the second half of June. And it has been that way for a while now. Even Canada, which gets about two weeks of summer, will be celebrating the longest day of the year while wearing its heavy hockey jerseys and sweating.

Blame greed. The National Hockey League - and all professional leagues - started adding games to the regular season and postseason when the costs of fielding teams started skyrocketing with free agency. That means the NHL and NBA both now end in June, MLB ends in November and the NFL ends in February - and will be pushed even later once the 18-game schedule is approved. If the Mavericks were better, they would still be playing the NBA Finals.

I laughed at the idea of playing cricket in Florida in June - the torrential rains proving me right - but that sport is contested around the globe in the heat so we'll excuse them.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy hockey and basketball as much as the next fan. But NOT in June. Those sports were meant to put people indoors during the winter months. Trust me, I know. I lived in Iowa for five years.

Edmonton Oilers fans are decked out in their hockey jerseys while watching Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on June 15 against the Florida Panthers.
Edmonton Oilers fans are decked out in their hockey jerseys while watching Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on June 15 against the Florida Panthers.

This month and July and August are meant for summer vacations, swimming, camping, barbeques and the true summer sport of baseball (but not the College World Series; another column for another day).

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This has been going on for a while. I still recall a New England summer vacation in the early '90s. I was sitting at a bar on Martha's Vineyard in mid-June waiting for my lobster. I looked up and there was the Stanley Cup playoffs on one TV and the NBA Finals on the other. I asked the bartender what's up with that. He just shrugged as he poured me another beer.

That bartender didn't care and most of you probably feel the same way. You probably think I'm crazy. Perhaps it's the heat (and humidity).

So please indulge me and let me cry out for common sense in sports, justice on the playing fields and just doing the right thing - while sitting in front of my wide-screen TV Friday night with the AC blasting away and watching Game 6.

Stanley Cup Final, Florida Panthers vs Edmonton Oilers schedule, how to watch and what channel

All games will be shown nationally on ABC. Games can be streamed on ESPN+ and on services that carry ABC, such as Fubo.

All games p.m. ET. x-if necessary

Panthers lead series 3-2

Game 1: Panthers 3, Oilers 0 | Bobrovsky blanks Oilers

Game 2:Panthers 4, Oilers 1 | Panthers win game, lose captain

Game 3: Panthers 4, Oilers 3 | Panthers pounce on mistakes

Game 4: Oilers 8, Panthers 1 | Oilers trounce Panthers to stay alive

Game 5: Oilers 5, Panthers 3 | McDavid has another big game

Game 6: Friday, June 21, Florida Panthers at Edmonton Oilers, 8, ABC

x-Game 7: Monday, June 24, Edmonton Oilers at Florida Panthers, 8, ABC

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Summer solstice no place for Stanley Cup Final between Panthers-Oilers

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