The success of one team is directly correlated to the failure of another. Watching your neighbor enjoy the spoils of victory can build resentment and turn conventional competition into something that can be charged with emotion. A rivalry can be born from jealousy, bitterness, envy or just hatred.
The passion and commitment from fans and from teams make games more interesting. The crowds can be electric and almost lift their teams to another level. Friendly banter becomes vitriol and hate. The glass and netting surrounding the ice put in place to protect the fans often seems like a necessity to protect players from the borderline lunacy in the stands.
Rivalries in sports aren't always organic. Often times there is a trigger or a singular incident that can push competition to the next level. Though I believe that most rivalries are perpetuated by a particular fanbase, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that some players just don't like each other.
It is human nature to compete, and the athletes who are at the pinnacle of their sport have reached the top because of their drive to succeed. The best of the best don't often take kindly to defeat. Some work harder to get better, some drop their gloves and some just disappear.
Here is my power ranking of the best rivalries in NHL history. Enjoy now!