Last week we reported some results from our recent survey of over 1,500 Canadians. One of the questions was “What is your favourite Canadian hockey team?” and respondents chose the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Montreal Canadiens by the slightest of margins — 27 per cent to 26 per cent.
We got some questions about that. So we decided to dig deeper into the results.
To start with, here’s the overview:
Not a big surprise here. Canada’s oldest and most storied franchises — that also happen to reside in large markets — finish 1-2 in what’s basically a dead heat. The team residing in the country’s third-largest market? It finishes third.
The Edmonton Oilers edge the Calgary Flames despite the latter’s larger population, but that might have something to do with the fact they employed the game’s greatest-ever player in his prime and coincidentally won a whole lot, creating a very large bandwagon for casual fans.
Moving on, here are the top three teams by region:
Now we’re getting somewhere!
In each of the six regions — B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan/Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada — the most popular team shakes out according to expectation (especially factoring in the aforementioned Gretzky bandwagon in Alberta). But it’s interesting to see the amount of support the various teams get in each region.
The Habs lay claim to three out of four hockey fans in Quebec, while the Maple Leafs are the favourite team of just three in five Ontarian NHL followers. In fact, the Canucks get a slightly higher percentage of fans in B.C. than the Leafs get of Ontario fans.
Another thing that jumps out when you look at the chart: The Eastern Conference–finalist Ottawa Senators get less support in Ontario than the Canadiens do. But, hey, they’re the second-most popular team (a distant second, but still…) in Quebec, and third most popular in the home-team-less East.
Also, while the Habs get a decent amount of support in Ontario, just three in 100 people in Quebec support the Leafs. Must be a lonely life.
Here’s what those top-threes look like when you use generation instead of region:
Again, we get back into national numbers, meaning the Leafs and Canadiens go 1-2 in every category, and the Canucks slot in at No. 3.
The Leafs enjoy their most support percentage-wise from the silent generation (born 1945 or before) and their lowest from the generation that directly followed it. They’re also rebounding with millennials.
Gen Xers like the Leafs and Canadiens equally, which is nice.
Finally, let’s look at one more category. Here’s what happens when we break the results down by sex:
Men Prefer the Maple Leafs, Women Prefer the Habs is the Canadian version of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.
While 54 per cent of men and 52 per cent of women cheer for the Maple Leafs or Canadiens, they don’t cheer for them in the same proportion. In fact, women buck the national trend and favour the Canadiens over the Leafs.