A nation united by hockey (sort-of): Results from the 2024 RealAgristudies hockey playoff survey


The NHL Playoffs are underway, and as a nation we are captivated by the drama and excitement that comes from having your favourite team making their bid for the coveted Stanley Cup. Although hockey may be considered part of our national identity, it’s not a given that everyone shares the same level of interest, and for those that do, they definitely do not share the same rooting interests!

In April of 2024, RealAgristudies conducted a survey of 538 Canadian farmers to learn more about their level of interest in watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs. While nearly 60 per cent of farmers said they would be watching the playoffs, a quarter said they would not be tuning in and 17 per cent of farmers indicated they might be watching. So this varying level of interest raises some more interesting questions – like, does it matter who your favourite team might be?

Based on the survey, interest in the playoffs did not vary much depending on respondents’ favourite team; however, there were a few interesting results. Calgary Flames fans were much more likely to answer maybe, which is understandable considering they are not in the playoffs. But what stood out was that only 68 per cent of Toronto fans said they would be watching the playoffs which can only be explained by the fact fans can’t bear to watch! As can be expected, the 12 per cent of farmers who did not have a favourite team were much more likely to not be watching the playoffs.

Fig 1:  Q) Will you be watching any of the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

With respect to who farmers are cheering for to win the Cup, nearly 1/3 of farmers indicate they are rooting for Edmonton followed by 20 per cent for Winnipeg, and 18 per cent for Toronto.  A distant fourth is Vancouver at 5 per cent.

While this highly correlates to your favourite team, perhaps a more interesting question is who you don’t want to win the Cup.  Here, the clear-cut antagonist is Toronto at 21 per cent followed by Boston at 17 per cent and then Vegas at 16 per cent.  One can only draw from these results that one prefers their favourite team to win, and most Canadians would be alright if another Canadian team won, unless it was the Maple Leafs.

This sentiment is even stronger among fans of Canadian teams as seen in Fig 2, however Maple Leafs fans don’t reciprocate with the same level of disdain. Perhaps this is influenced by recency bias, but nearly half of Leaf fans don’t want Boston to win and only a very small faction of Leafs fans indicated another Canadian team.

Fig 2:  Percentage of respondents who indicate they don’t want Toronto to win the Stanley Cup by their favourite team.

Surveys are not always fun. At RealAgristudies we attempt to tackle a lot of important issues that matter to farmers and allow them a chance to share their voice and provide perspective on decisions that impact them, but are made by others. Sometimes it’s nice to lighten it up a bit and recognize that farmers are just like all of us – if their favourite team isn’t Toronto, they don’t want Toronto to win the Stanley Cup!

For more information on RealAgristudies, visit www.realagristudies.com

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