Wednesday, June 30, 2010

State of the NHL: A Fanbase by Fanbase Commentary

This is not a commentary on the quality of each team, its players or its chances.  This is solely an objective assessment on the fanbase of each organization and where they stand heading into the future.

Anaheim -
Ah perfect way to start, with a team that has seen its attendance numbers explode after their Stanley Cup Victory in 2007.  Or not.  After a strong showing in 2008, ranking 6th in the league in attendance (basis: percentage of arena filled), the Anaheim "faithful" were up to their old tricks, finishing 15th and 20th in 2009 and 2010.

To make matters worse, Anaheim didn't even host a Stanley cup parade.  Jesus fucking Christ, even Raleigh got 30,000 transplanted New Yorkers and Canadians to show up in 2006.  And that year didn't even count!

Ducks Fans in a Picture:
Putting the "Pathetic" in "Apathetic" California Sports Fans

Atlanta -
Another one?  Mother fuck, aren't there any Canadian cities that begin with the letter 'A?'

The Thrashers fans remind me of Jason Pominville.  In that the population of Pominville is usually higher than the population of Philips Arena.  Also, they're 29th out of 30 teams in attendance this decade.  Granted I can't blame the Thrashers faithful too much since their team has made a steadfast commitment to being really fucking awful.

Thrashers Fans in a Picture:

If Pominville had been Founded in 1999, the Population would be 219.  Just sayin...

Boston -
Right about now you'd be expecting to find a legitimate fanbase.  Well you would be wrong.  Attendance wise in this decade Boston ranks behind such fanbase powerhouses as Tampa Bay, Columbus, and St. Louis.  Ouch.

Boston might be a decent fanbase if the majority of their fans weren't pink hat wearing communists that started liking Boston sports in know...when everyone was doing it.  When you're a hockey hotbed and you can't crack 14th in attendance with one of the smallest arenas in the NHL you're pretty much dogshit.

Bruins Fans in a Picture:

Maybe there was a Preseason Red Sox Game?

Buffalo -
Ah finally we get to one of the flagship franchises for fandom in the NHL.  Buffalo routinely dominates the TV ratings, not only for Sabres games, but for hockey in general.  The attendance is almost always full, and come playoff time, the Sabres are the sole team to broadcast games outside the arena for the thousands of fans that show.

Sabres Fans in a Picture:

This Caption is a Better Fan than You Are

Calgary -
Calgary is kind of an enigma.  Their attendance was terrible before the lockout, peaking at 20th in the NHL.  Then during the lockout year, the Calgary Hitmen (WHL) led all professional and junior teams in attendance in North America.  Coming out of the lockout the Flames finished no worse than 8th in attendance for the next five years.

No ones debating that the red-out is a thing of beauty in the Saddledome, but how does a Canadian team have such awful attendance numbers.  Being terrible isn't an excuse, just ask leafs fans.

Flames Fans in a Picture:

Carolina -
How bad are canes fans?  To you give you somewhat of an impression, here is where each Stanley Cup Winner ranked in attendance the following season.

2001 - 22nd (New Jersey Devils) - Rest assured, we will address the Devils later.
2002 - 4th (Colorado Avalanche)
2003 - 5th (Detroit Red Wings)
2004 - 25th (New Jersey Devils)
2005 - lockout
2006 - 1st (Tampa Bay Lightning)
2007 - 18th (Carolina Hurricanes)
2008 - 6th (Anaheim Ducks)
2009 - 14th (Detroit Red Wings)
2010 - 5th (Pittsburgh Penguins)

Typically when a team performs well, they gain some local interest and see an attendance boon.  And while the Canes did see a number jump, 18th place in the league after winning the most coveted trophy in sports is hardly commendable.

And while the Devils look even worse, and the Red Wings nearly as bad, one must realize that out of NHL cities, Detroit and Newark have the 3rd and 10th highest poverty rates.  Where is Raleigh?  Oh yeah, they have the 3rd lowest.  Not to mention that Raleigh is too fucking embarrassed for its hockey fans to even release local TV ratings.  Even Florida is like yo, we got eight people watching!

So we have a good team in an era where hockey is at its most entertaining in a rich city...and people still aren't showing up.  That's what we call a fan fail.

Canes Fans in a Picture:
You knew it was coming

Chicago -
There is only one word to describe hawks fans and it begins with the letter 'F.'  Fickle.  Starting in 2001, Chicago's attendance rankings:  28, 27, 30, 30, lockout, 30, 30, 28, 1, 1.

Hawks Fans in a Picture:

Colorado -
Colorado falls into that middle ground with a lot of teams.  Some good years, some middling years and not much else to write home about such as great TV ratings, Party's in the Plaza or uncontrollable rioting.

Avalanche Fans in a Picture:

Columbus -
The NHL is trying to bore me to tears in the way this alphabetizes.  What the hell do you want me to say about Blue Jackets fans?  Ask your friend to name all 30 NHL teams.  He will forget the blue jackets EVERY SINGLE TIME.  They are easily the least relevant team in the NHL.  They can't do anything right, they can't win, can't score a ton of goals, can't draft flashy Russians.  Fucking Christ, they can't even fail.  Jim Balsillie won't even touch the Jackets.

Blue Jackets Fans in a Picture:
I thought about posting a picture of testicles with a smiley drawn on them.

Dallas -
People will tell you that Dallas is a relatively strong hockey fan base.  If they add the modifier "for the south," then they are right.  Dallas comes in at 13th in attendance over the past decade, second only to San Jose, and they were third this past season in TV ratings to San Jose and Washington.  Since they're the only team to cheat to win a cup, we're just going to move along.

Detroit -
Ah the hilariously inappropriately named hockeytown.  (Yes I know it's just a trademark).  A lot of people want to blame the economy in Detroit for the waning fan interest in the last three years (16th, 14th, and 16th in attendance) and while that may be a little bit excusable the fact that Buffalo, a market 1/4th the size, with a higher poverty rate and lower median household income routinely outperforms Detroit not only in attendance figures, but in TV ratings as well.

Red Wings Fans in a Picture:

Edmonton -
At first glance, Hockey Siberia doesn't seem like much.  Then you realize that they finish second in attendance among Canadian markets only to Toronto.  Granted they do have a tiny arena, but they have a tiny population as well.

Sure no one really wants to go there because it smells or something, and its where Lindy threatened to trade Max if he didn't start playing better, but hey the fans are great!

Oilers Fans in a Picture:
Holy Shit, That's Awesome

Florida -
I'm not going to waste your time.  Dead last in attendance this decade, dead last among cities that release local TV ratings.  Who the fuck decided putting two teams in Florida was a good idea?

Florida Panthers Fans in a Picture:
Oh, Right...

Los Angeles -
See Colorado's Entry.

Minnesota -
The only team that can even sniff at the Buffalo Sabres in terms of top American NHL fan bases, owing largely to the absurd fact that they've sold out every single game since they received the team.  Their TV ratings could be a bit better, but perhaps they're a bit skewed since every fucking fan is at the game.

Wild Fans in a Picture:

Montreal -
Cut the fucking soccer chants and stop rioting after preseason wins and maybe I'll respect you, you wanna be french assholes.

Canadiens Fans in a Picture:
Fuck You.

Nashville -
Another southern market, are we done with these yet?

Predators Fans in a Picture:
Pictured: Redeeming Quality

New Jersey -
How in the hell does a NORTHERN market in a HUGE city with MULTIPLE Stanley Cups in the past decade peak at 21st in the league in attendance and average out to be 28th?  (Congratulations you beat Atlanta and Florida!)

Worst fans in the league bar none.  At least Florida and Atlanta fans have the excuse that they didn't grow up in a culture of hockey.  New Jersey can make no such excuses.  I hope you move.

Devils Fans in a Picture:

NY Islanders -
Pretty much read the New Jersey entry, add in the words "crappy arena" and insert "Long Island" for Newark.

Islanders Fans in a YouTube Video:

NY Rangers - 
What is it with those New York area fans?  Good lord they just suck something fierce.  Look, the Rangers typically sell out every game, but who wouldn't in a city of 19 million people?  Their TV ratings are severely underwhelming.

Douchebag Fans in a Picture:
Yo Vinny and yous guyz...

Ottawa - 
Ahh, the New York Rangers of Canada.  It's not like the team as been awful, or the team is really that new any more.  Still the attendance numbers continue to be pitiful.  Ranked 20th in the league this decade and never ranked higher than 14th in any give year for a Canadian fanbase is just sad.

Senators Fans in a Picture:

Philadelphia - 
When Edward Jenner cured smallpox, philly fans were there to boo him.

 Flyers Fans in a Picture:

Phoenix - 
Coyotes Fans in a Picture:
Enough Said

Pittsburgh - 
I have to be honest, their attendance has been good, even in some really shitty years.  Their TV ratings are always second behind Buffalo, the Pittsburghians really like their hockey.

Still, I think they're about four years away from being an entitled pack of bitches like Detroit and New Jersey.

Penguins Fans in a Picture:

San Jose - 
Aw christ another southern fan base...   Actually let's give the sharks their due.  Not only do they outpace every other southern fan base, they're actually a solid fan base period.  They routinely rank in the top ten in the NHL in attendance and TV ratings, even if everyone who lives there is filthy fucking rich.  Hey, nobody's perfect.

Sharks Fans in a Picture:
Because Shitting on Red Wings Fans is Awesome

St. Louis - 
St. Louis is almost a southern mirror of Buffalo.  The team doesn't often give fans a lot to shout about, is always overshadowed within the division (hey, we're more popular than Columbus!), and never covered by sports media writers.  I feel like the fan base in St. Louis is pretty strong, even though the number suggest otherwise.  Seriously, pick up a player I can name and maybe your fans will start showing up.

Blues Fans in a Picture:
You Know that Cat is Ready to Start Something...

Tampa Bay -
You have an entire webpage devoted to how pissed you are that opposing fans ROUTINELY outnumber your own fans at YOUR arena because YOUR fanbase sucks.  Which might be allowable if you didn't list EVERY OTHER FUCKING TEAM.  Priceless.  I'd be pissed at your video, but your inferiority complex is so fucking gargantuan I literally cannot stop laughing.

No Photo necessary.

Toronto -
What can I say, Canada's flagship fanbase even if they are a bunch of delusional drunk assholes.  Annually top three in attendance, blah blah blah, Canada doesn't have Nielsen Ratings, blah blah blah, etc.

Leafs Fans in a Picture:
You Knew it was Coming

Vancouver - 
Ah, the oft-forgotten west coast canucks.  Because nothing interesting ever happens on the west coast.  Another team that puts up solid numbers year after year not matter how often Roberto Luongo wants to disappoint them.  I'm just waiting for the playoffs when after a Canucks loss he skates to center ice and rips off his jersey to reveal a blackhawks/sharks/red wings/blackhawks/blackhawks jersey underneath.

Canucks Fans in a Picture:
Although They Do Have These Guys...

Washington - 
The Verizon Center is ROCKING!  Holy shit have you seen that place!  Ever since 2005-2006 anyways.  Seriously, grow a history.

Capitals Fans in a Picture:
Seriously, We Call it the Sp-Ed Division


  1. detroits lower seats are empty because those are corporate seats that sometimes dont get used. its a great fanbase.

  2. There is a lot of in your post almost majority is good and informative however you post is good.

  3. Everyone sucks but Buffalo. yes we get it.

  4. Just stumbled upon this today and I'm Loving this shit. Didn't see a way of getting into contact with you, but I'd like to go over something in a private email if interested. I run and could use a mind like yours over in our neck of the woods. Get a hold of me ...

  5. (1 of 2)
    There is NO WAY you can be serious about Pens "fans". Yet you knock Devils fans, Bruins fans and Capitals fans, and even RANGERS FANS? (LOL The knocking of the Rangers fans has to be the funniest.) Rangers fans are the only reason the Devils and Icelanders even sell any tickets. They have some of the best and most knowledgeable fans in hockey. They may not be very well liked, but to knock them shows you don't know the sport.
    And don’t let the NHL fool you… they can give PIttsburgh all the Winter Classics, NHL All Star Games (you know that’s coming), and media attention they want, it doesn’t change the FACT that Pittsburgh is NOT a hockey friendly city.
    I have lived in Bandwagonburgh since 2002, and I was here when they couldn’t sell tickets through the student rush program, which was great because I could go to any game I wanted and sit in the best seat available for 20 bucks. ANY GAME. This was great for a fan like me, living away from my favorite team, as well as the few true hockey fans in the city.
    I was here when people were actually calling the radio stations, complaining how “no one cares about the Pens”, “the Pens should just leave town”, "let 'em go, this is a football town!", and “Mario is being greedy”.
    I also find it HILARIOUS that you claim they had good attendance, even during shitty times, because I was here when they were DEAD LAST in attendance. And keep in mind, last is LAST. Last is behind the Panthers, Thrashers, Predators, Icelanders, Coyotes and Devils.
    I was here when the team did everything they could to reach out to the people and the city, and they got nothing but rejection in return. They were always active in the community, and they were a laughing stock. This was a completely different situation from Chicago, where the Blackhawks seemed to do everything in their power to put a wedge between themselves, and people and City of Chicago.
    The only time hockey was popular here is when Lemieux got here, and they won two Cups. Then it went back to the way it was pre-Lemieux. And a mistake people make is thinking people started caring once Crosby got here. Not true. It wasn’t until Malkin and Staal arrived, and the team looked like they could contend that Bandwagonburgh started acting like they gave a shit.
    Here's some more of my personal experiences in the city of Bandwagonburgh:
    Back in 2004 I actually wrote a Bandwagonburgh radio host (Stan Savran) and trashed Pens fans for being horrible hockey fans. That homer asshole read my email on the air, along with my email address. You know how many replies I got? One! ONE reply! If that happened today my email address would have been flooded with replies, and threats, and perhaps even hacked.

  6. (2 of 2)
    I have always worn many different jerseys, from many different teams around this city, and I never used to hear anything from anyone. Then since about 2007 I started hearing things here and there. And now it has gotten to the point where EVERY SINGLE TIME I wear a jersey out, no matter what team it is, I get people making comments; booing, or yelling “GO PENS!”
    In Bandwagonburgh there’s no real passion or knowledge about hockey. They love the city… so when their teams are in the playoffs, they wear their jerseys to work and they hang stuff outside their house. The same way people do for Christmas or Halloween. It’s just a bunch of “rah rah”, but again, no true passion, and no knowledge. In fact just yesterday while my fiance (huge hockey fan as well) and I were out we heard a group of girls talking hockey, some of the gems that came out of the conversation were: "I'm a huge Pens fan, but I don't really watch the games, I don't find it that interesting" "I don't think the games are interesting either, but Sidney Crosby is cute" "I just started watching a few years ago, but I don't really pay attention when the game is on either" This is no lie, and certainly not exaggerated. This is how people out here are. Again, it's like decorating for Christmas or Halloween, they don't even know what's happening or why they're "fans".
    Once the Pens are bad, they turn on them. And I don’t mean the way they “turn” on the Steelers, where they’ll say ‘Fuck the Stillers, they’re sucking right now!’ and still watch the games. No, the yinzers run from hockey like they would a plague. A few years ago I worked Downtown, and everyone wore their shirts and jerseys to work, but once the Penguins were out of the playoffs the jerseys weren’t seen. Which is pretty understandable during summer… but you rarely saw a Pens “jersey t-shirt” the rest of the summer too. No reason to not wear those - THEY’RE T-SHIRTS! The season the Pens won the Cup, and they were in 10th or 12th place before surging into the playoffs the "fans" here were already jumping ship, I had so many people asking me if I wanted tickets and all that shit because they were probably not gonna go to the game since the Pens were probably gonna lose anyway. HAHA Such dedication, such love for their hometown team.
    And when I first moved here, almost NO ONE wore anything Pens. There were probably more Pirates jerseys and hats being worn around the city than Penguins stuff. It sucks, because I cannot talk hockey with people in this city, because they don’t know the sport beyond the Pens. And most of the time they don’t know hockey beyond the CURRENT Pens.
    Why are the Pens and their "fans" constantly lauded as hockey paragons when most of the team's history has been empty seats and rejection?
    I can't wait to move back home, where people actually care about hockey. Oh yeah, and the Caps have a history... probably as rich as your precious Buffalo Sabres.
    Also, TV ratings are very flawed.

  7. I like the comment, though it was long and lacking any formatting whatsoever. After having a greater exposure to Pens fans, I think they're the biggest pieces of shit among fans, somehow outshitting the Rags (awful in their own right), and Flyers fans in ters of douchebaggery.

  8. I'll agree about Pens fans. Last year I called them barely making it out of the second round or losing in it during every Pittsburgh game the Sabres played them, they all claimed bullshit and I always said, we'll see, and I was right because I actually follow hockey and realized how much Gill and Scuderi helped them when they won their cup. They were their shutdown pair that year.