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No Canadian teams could mean less engagement for playoffs: survey

Winnipeg Jets' Adam Lowry, left, has his shot grabbed by Calgary Flames goalie David Rittich, of the Czech Republic, during third period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Summary

The survey asked 1,544 hockey fans across Canada

62 per cent of respondants also said they would cheer any Canadian team to win the cup

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – As the old saying goes, ‘there’s always next year’.

The heartache continues for Canadian hockey fans after Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto were booted from the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

It’s now been 26 years and counting since a Canadian club last hoisted Lord Stanley’s mug, that was the 1993 Montreal Canadiens.

With no Canadian content left in the playoffs, will fans be just as engaged as they were in round one?

According to a new poll from Angus Reid, fewer fans might be following the rest of the playoffs, but it’s not just because of the lack of Canadian teams.

“The NHL also lost Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin in this round,” says Research Analyst Dave Korzinski, “We don’t know exactly how many people are going to tune into the next round.”

Korzinski points out that this is not the first time Canadians have been less involved in watching the NHL playoffs.

“In 2016 when there were no Canadian teams that made the playoffs, 45 per cent, so fewer than half of Canadians were following those playoffs. You’re looking at a situation (round one) now where you’ve had a really good portion of the population, really good ratings.”

Despite those numbers, millions of hockey fans will still tune into the playoffs because, at the end of the day, hockey is still number one in Canada.

“It’s actually four times as many people saying that they watch the NHL as watch the NBA. The Raptors might get a little bit of a bump from the Leafs early exit but I think a lot of people will still be following the NHL playoffs.”

The survey asked fans who they believe will finally break the Stanley Cup drought for Canada.

Roughly 31 per cent say the Toronto Maple Leafs while 18 per cent has their money on the Winnipeg Jets.

The Calgary Flames and the Montreal Canadiens came in each at 10 per cent.

FULL SURVEY RESULTS