Which city has the best fans?

Posted by curve in Columns,Features on November 14, 2008 — 6 Comments
A few nights ago, I was watching a Rangers game on MSG network with a few expat Canadian friends who are now living in New York.  We had a pretty diverse assortment of hometowns: Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver.  As is generally the case in anything, the greatest representation was from Toronto –which I’d refer to as “the center of the universe” except that a name like that is all the more comical when you’re writing from the perspective of New York.  
 
Anyway, after a while, the Montrealer spoke up and claimed that if Toronto fans had any self-respect, they would have long ago dropped their allegiance to the Leafs and start following a team that is committed to winning and pleasing its fans rather than making money and pleasing a faceless corporate board of directors.  This angered the Torontonians (or maybe they were already angry since they have to watch Jeff Finger every night), who banded together to argue that Leaf fans are the best fans in the league, far better than those of any other city.  These were there reasons:
 
1. Leaf fans support their team through thick and thin.
2. “Everyone knows Toronto has the best hockey fans in the world.”
3. “The Leafs are the most liked team in the league, even by people in other cities.  That’s why wherever you go to a Leafs road game, there are lots of Leaf jerseys in the stands.”
 
I thought all of these arguments had their flaws, most notably the third one.  Yes, there are lots of Leaf fans in the stands when Toronto plays Florida in Miami over Christmas, but this isn’t because Flordians like the Leafs: it’s because Toronto is a big city and there’s lots of Torontonians retired in Del Boca Vista.  The Leafs are not loveable losers like the Chicago Cubs, or a gloried and revered franchise like the Green Bay Packers.  They are a team that has sucked for most of the last 40 years, all the while spending more than most of their rivals.  As a result, their fan base does not extend beyond those who follow the team solely on account of the accident of where they happened to be born. And unlike Packer and Cubs fans who brave the cold, Leaf fans oftentimes seem unable to brave leaving the confines of their platinum lounge to go to their seats before the first 10 minutes of each period has elapsed!
 
I could go on and on, but the real purpose of this piece is to engage you, the reader, and solicit your feedback on the following questions:
 
Who has the best fan base in the NHL? and
 
What NHL arena has the most exciting atmosphere for watching hockey?
 
I look forward to your responses.
 
Until then, I’m Joey Swithmick
  • http://www.illegalcurve.com Richard

    1. Edmonton
    2. Montreal
    3. Minnesota

  • Mikos

    1. Calgary
    2. Montreal
    3. Minnesota

  • joemontana

    Don’t just play… Compete!

    Even the Leafs’ dressing room slogan says nothing about winning.

    It’s a sad situation.

    I would love to see a second Toronto NHL team not run by a board of directors soak up the market here. I think Toronto fans aren’t the best hockey fans, but they deserve better than an organization built around getting guys in suits to buy more california rolls 10 minutes into periods.

    A new team would attract the young Ontario fans that can actually hope, one day, to afford to see their favorite local team play hockey. and maybe, in less than 41 years, not just compete, but win a stanley cup.

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com Drew

    1. Montreal
    2. Edmonton
    3. Minnesota

  • sisu

    The players say:

    Montreal Canadiens 35%

    Minnesota Wild 13%

    Calgary Flames 11%

    Vancouver Canucks 6%

    Edmonton Oilers 6%

  • scott9002ca

    Montreal has by far the largest fan base with the most colored history. no matter where you go you see a great deal of habs fans. during the boston – montreal series at least 1/3 of the crowd in boston were cheering for montreal. it confused watever goalie they had in nets because montreal scored and there was roar from the crowd so he thought they had missed the net.
    If you’ve ever been to a game in montreal, its so exciting to be at. everyone’s on the edge of their seat all the time, yelling. its probably the loudest place to play. For a lot of other teams an nhl hockey game is just something to do. In montreal its a dogfight to get a regular season ticket to a game against any sort of team. i once went to a game IN florida against tampa bay lighting over christmas. we didn’t even have to try and we got tickets. on top of that at least 1/2 of the fans were habs fans… kinda sad actually.
    Its actually sad for the leafs fans that they dont have a team that puts a decent effort out. which is to say they don’t have much history for the past 40 years… unless you count losing as important history. really depressing for them.