According to Senior Vice-President Doug Anderson “Seeing a Canadian team win the Stanley Cup is something as close to a national dream as you might find, but if forced to choose between the two Canadian teams left, opinion is divided over whether Canadians would prefer to see the Vancouver Canucks or the Ottawa Senators hoist the Cup this year. That being said, the more avid fans are more likely to be rallying behind the Vancouver Canucks. The fact that these two teams cannot possibly face each other before the finals suggests that Canadian fans will likely be cheering for both teams during the early rounds, regardless of which of the two they would pull for if they face each other in the final.”
• Slightly more than one in three intends to follow the playoffs closely. Nationally, 35% will follow the NHL playoffs very or somewhat closely. One in five (19%) say they’ll be following “not that closely”, while 45% say they won’t be following the playoffs at all. Quebec residents stand apart from all other regions by having the lowest proportion who says they will be following the playoffs. It may seem logical given that their local team – the Montreal Canadiens – have not made the playoffs; however, residents of the Prairies are at least as engaged as the national average, despite the fact that none of the three teams from the prairies made the playoffs this year. BC residents are clearly excited about the prospects of their local team, with fully 55% of residents saying they will be following the NHL playoffs at least somewhat closely.
• Most Canadians want one of the two Canadian teams to end up winning this year’s Stanley Cup. Given the choice between the Vancouver Canucks, the Ottawa Senators or any of the other teams in the playoffs, two out of three Canadians say they would prefer one of the two Canadian teams bring home the Cup. Only 13% of Canadians are cheering for one of the other 14 teams in the playoffs.
• Although nationally the country is fairly divided over whether they hope the Canucks or Senators win, some regions are more decidedly cheering for a favourite. In BC, 80% prefer the Canucks win the Cup, while 5% prefer the Senators, and 9% some other team. Across the prairies, those cheering for the Canucks outnumber the Senators’ fans by a ratio of about 2 to 1. In Ontario, 42% prefer the Senators, while 29% want the Canucks to win. Quebec residents are perfectly divided between the two and Atlantic residents have a slight preference for the Canucks over the Senators.
• Avid fans are a little more likely to be pulling for the Vancouver Canucks if forced to choose. Among this group, 50% prefer Vancouver, while 30% prefer the Ottawa Senators win the Stanley Cup. A further 19% prefer some other team win the Cup. Similar preferences exist among those that call themselves ‘occasional followers’ of NHL hockey. Among this group, 49% prefer the Canucks win, 30% the Senators, and 14% some other team.
Each week, Harris/Decima interviews just over 1000 Canadians through teleVox, the company’s national telephone omnibus survey. The most recent data were gathered between April 4 and April 9, 2012. A sample of the same size has a margin of error of 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.