By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — The National Hockey League is out to prove that it’s not trying to take your fun away.

Following erroneous reports that the NHL planned to ban fan-created GIFs, the league responded saying that no changes were planned as to its policy regarding the posting of animated images containing NHL footage on social media. The very idea of banning GIFs sounded tone-deaf and utterly impractical to begin with, so the league is right not to even attempt to impose such a sanction.

Not only is the NHL not changing its stance on posting GIFs, it’s now joining in on the fun.

They even hit the issue right on the nose:

They also posted this piece of Stanley Cup awesomeness:

GIFs are not a new thing for the NHL Twitter account, but Tuesday’s series of GIFs could be seen as a direct response to the idea of the supposed ban.

The original report of the supposed ban came from Mark Scheig of The Hockey Writers, who soon deleted his original tweets before clarifying, apologizing, and all that jazz. Scheig worried about hurting his reputation, but people still get to post GIFs (and, clearly, the league doesn’t mind posting their own) so it’s probably all good on that front.

Stephanie Vail, who created GIFs for several NHL teams on game nights and tweeted under the handle @myregularface, curiously disappeared from Twitter on Tuesday, which raised suspicion about the league’s supposed ban on GIFs. It was mere hours before a league official emailed a fan, who notified Scheig, saying the league had no plans to change the GIF policy – probably while holding back chuckles at the absurdity of the whole “controversy.”

Ultimately, it’s good news that the NHL is not going to try and meddle with something it would clearly have no control over once the playoffs started. Fans and media have way too many avenues, way too many digital tools at their disposal to possibly be stopped from creating GIFs entirely. Besides, wouldn’t some fun GIFs be good for the league in terms of entertainment value? Casual fans might be more inclined to tune in to Stanley Cup Playoff hockey, arguably the most exciting product in sports, if some mesmerizing GIFs made their way through the Twittersphere.

On that note, here are some of my favorite hockey-related GIFs…

Dominik Hasek back-body-dropping Marian Gaborik on a breakaway:

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The Flying V, a.k.a. Automatic Off-Side:

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Tuukka Rask fails at throwing a tantrum:

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The classic “lacrosse goal” move that few have the gall to try in the NHL:

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Wanna fight? Nah, let’s hug it out:

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The most psychotic fan of all-time:

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Guy scores goal, hugs opposing player:

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And nobody can seem to figure out water bottles:

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Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.

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