How Many Hockey Fans Are There In The World? [Expert Guide!]

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If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either a) a hockey fan or b) you know one. It’s a pretty safe bet that the two of us are connected, but just to make sure, let’s just say that we’re both fans of the sport.

Now, you may be wondering how many hockey fans are there in the world. Or, if you’re not, maybe you should be. After all, there’s only one place to be when it comes to hockey — the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada. But, that’s only part of the story. Because hockey doesn’t just live in Toronto, Canada. The game and the fans are spread around the globe. In this article, we’ll explore the international landscape of hockey, including the most recent trends and numbers.

Canada Reigns Supreme

Let’s begin our exploration of the international landscape of hockey by looking at Canada. This year will mark the 100th anniversary of the first Winter Olympics to be held in the country. And just to add another layer of significance to the year 2022, it will also mark the 80th anniversary of the founding of the nation of Canada. During this time, Canada has evolved from a dominion of the United Kingdom to a country that is truly one of the world’s great societies. As a nation, they’re highly intelligent, creative and industrious, with one of the world’s longest and most distinguished hockey histories. One could even argue that Canada is the birthplace of hockey and the home of the greatest sport ever created.

To commemorate this momentous occasion, the Canadian government has decided to hold a series of special Olympic events. One of the highlights of these games will be the Winter Olympics hockey tournament. It’s been 76 years since Canada last hosted the NHL All-Star Game, but the country seems poised to make that a one-off event. The national hockey team are currently in the middle of a gold-medal winning streak and are looking to continue their dominance in the coming years.

Currently, Canada has 18 pro sports teams, 14 of which are in the NHL. This gives them the fourth-highest total of any country. The highest total is 28, held by the USA, Germany and Russia. If you’re curious, here’s a complete list of all the professional sports teams in Canada along with their franchise win-loss record.

“As the most-watched and followed sports league in the world, the NHL generates billions of dollars in annual revenue, making it one of the most influential and wealthy sports leagues,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. “The Canadian government’s initiative to host a special Olympics tournament in 2022 is a wonderful opportunity for our game and for the country. Our teams will have the opportunity to represent Canada proudly at the international stage and give the people of Canada and the hockey world a glimpse of what our game is all about.”

Since 1929, the national hockey team has a record of 379 wins, 186 losses and 59 ties. They’ve been to the Olympic Games 11 times and have won a silver medal in 1928, a gold medal in 1960 and are trying to win a third consecutive gold medal in 2022. The Toronto Maple Leafs are the most successful team in the country’s history, with 16 Stanley Cups, eight of which they’ve won in the last 10 years. Interestingly, while the NHL enjoys a large and passionate following in North America, their biggest fan base and player base is actually in the country of their biggest competitors, Russia. The Russian Premier League — which is the country’s top professional league — is renowned for having the strongest support in the world and has spawned many famous hockey players, including Pavel Bure, Sergei Zubov and Viacheslav Fetisov. Professional hockey was actually founded in Russia back in 1909, making it the second-oldest professional sports league in the world. Now, if that isn’t proof that hockey can truly be said to be a world sport, we don’t know what is.

The Rest Of North America

Moving away from Canada for a moment, let’s take a look at the other North American countries. The United States of America are another great country that has managed to build a thriving hockey community despite, you know, being North American and all. USA Today recently ranked the top 30 minor league hockey teams in 2022 and the top five are represented by teams from the state of Pennsylvania. This follows a similar pattern for the last several years. The state of Pennsylvania is home to the Philadelphia Flyers, one of the NHL’s original six founding members. The organization also has the honor of being the first to apply for an NHL expansion franchise back in the 1917. This year will also mark the 100th anniversary of the Philadelphia Flyers — one of the most successful and prestigious sports teams in the country’s history. Since their inception, the Flyers have won eight Stanley Cups, three of which they’ve won in the last five years.

While the United States of America have managed to keep their pro hockey scene alive and well, it’s fair to say that the league’s popularity has declined a bit over the years. Perhaps it’s time for the NHL to consider re-locating a franchise or two. The last time the league did this was in 2006, when the Nashville Predators, Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild were all owned by different NHL franchises. This was due, in part, to the league making a conscious effort to court markets that were previously occupied by struggling teams, like the St. Louis Blues and Phoenix Coyotes. Even the new and improved Winnipeg Jets are still a way off securing their status as a playoff contender. The fans in Winnipeg have taken to the streets to protest the team’s poor performance. And it’s not just professional sports teams that have been affected by the economic downturn. The entire professional hockey landscape has changed in favor of the big European clubs. Most North American junior hockey leagues have folded, paving the way for the revival of the Western Hockey League, which had been inactive since 1996.

The Great White North

Moving away from the NHL for a moment, let’s take a look at the smaller markets and leagues that reside in and around the country. Much like Canada, the Great White North has a much more vibrant hockey community than you might think. The nation of hockey actually began when American immigration officials allowed the import of equipment and players from Canada in 1909. This was in an effort to increase competition and grow the sport in North America. Since then, the game has grown substantially, with the creation of several major junior hockey leagues. Even the Calgary Flames — the city’s largest and most popular professional sports team — trace their roots back to the pre-NHL days, when they were known as the Stampeders. The NHL’s Calgary Flames will also celebrate their 100th anniversary this year.

While Canada’s major hockey leagues have been dominated by the nation’s largest cities — like Toronto and Montreal — the smaller cities and towns across the country have held their own. Regina, Saskatchewan is the smallest city to ever host an NHL playoff game. The town also holds the record for the longest cold streak in hockey history, with 26 consecutive days of sub-freezing temperatures in 1922. Hockey was actually invented in the city of Regina, with the first rink opened in the community in 1912. The NHL’s San Jose Sharks will also be celebrating their 10th year in the city this year. The Golden State Warriors held their inaugural game in the city of Oakland, which is now their home. The NBA also has a strong presence in the area, with the Warriors and Oakland A’s sharing a stadium.

The Great Britain

Let’s move on to some European countries now. It’s only fitting that we begin with the United Kingdom, a country that has managed to keep the traditions of its former colonizing nation while also embracing the diversity of cultures that make up modern Britain. One of the great things about the United Kingdom is that, despite their size, they’ve managed to keep a strong hockey presence. The country is home to the Manchester Mumbles, whose home games are normally played in front of a crowd of several thousand fans. It’s not just the crowds either that make the game so appealing in the UK. According to the BBC, 80 per cent of British households purchased some sort of hockey equipment in the past year.

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