PEORIA — The celebration of the Stanley Cup remains my favorite thing in sports.

There's just nothing else like it, one team mobbing in celebration while the devastated losing side respectfully waits and watches, determined to uphold an historic tradition of the handshake line.

Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars upheld tradition with those handshakes Monday night after the Lightning won Game 6, 2-0, to win the Stanley Cup.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman delivered a terrific presentation to launch the post-game party, and the parading of the Stanley Cup followed.

It didn't matter where it was or how many people were there or whether you like hockey or not, it was a moment sports fans needed, a moment on which not even current divisive politics and social causes could intrude.

Former Peoria Rivermen goaltender Ben Bishop was on the Dallas team, but didn't dress. He's been unable to play since the second round of the playoffs.

Former Rivermen center Tony Hrkac is going to get a ring, as he's a scout for Tampa Bay.

Anyway, if you think there's an asterisk on this pandemic-damaged season, check out some of the video from the aftermath.

Don't tell former St. Louis Blues playoff hero Pat Maroon there's an asterisk. And it sure didn't look like Dallas captain Jamie Benn was feeling an asterisk when he sat at a post-game news conference, so emotionally distraught he literally couldn't answer questions.

Very emotional stuff from Jamie Benn pic.twitter.com/F2DGejJRZK

— Spittin' Chiclets (@spittinchiclets) September 29, 2020

Presenting your 2020 #StanleyCup champions...

The @TBLightning. pic.twitter.com/CIuIRv4IFu

— NHL (@NHL) September 29, 2020

Back To Back....Thats all pic.twitter.com/8yTNjW0o09

— Pat Maroon (@patmaroon) September 29, 2020

Time for a meet and greet.@TBLightning #StanleyCup

MATCH MADE. pic.twitter.com/vb1xi5Yvrh

— NHL (@NHL) September 29, 2020

An unbelievable series and nothing but respect

Congratulations @TBLightning on winning the Stanley Cup pic.twitter.com/F67KTgcYCt

— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) September 29, 2020

I hope the Peoria Rivermen are able to play later when the SPHL attempts its comeback from COVID with a 2020-21 season launch on Dec. 26.

Because fans need pro hockey. And Peoria needs a celebration.

That's all for Cleve In The Eve on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020.

Here's your sports quote of the day:

"One of the great rules of hockey is: On the Stanley Cup, all germs are healthy."

— renowned sports columnist George Vecsey

Dave Eminian is the Journal Star sports columnist, and covers the Rivermen and Chiefs. He writes the Cleve In The Eve sports column for pjstar.com. Reach him at 686-3206 or deminian@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @icetimecleve.