Are you a fan of hockey, but unsure which NHL team to root for? Whether you’re new to the sport or just looking for a change of allegiance, picking a team can be a difficult decision. After all, each club has its own history, style, and star players that might appeal to different fans.
But fear not, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll explore some of the factors you should consider when choosing an NHL team to support. From geographic location and team culture to player stats and rivalries, there are many elements that could influence your decision.
We’ll also take a closer look at some of the most popular teams in the league, including their histories, current rosters, and recent performances. Whether you’re drawn to longstanding dynasties like the Montreal Canadiens or underdog stories like the Vegas Golden Knights, there’s sure to be a team that catches your eye.
“Choosing an NHL team is more than just picking a logo or favorite color – it’s about finding a community of passionate fans who share your love of the game.”
So grab your jerseys, hats, and foam fingers, and let’s dive into the exciting world of NHL fandom!
Discover Your Home Team
Geographic Factors Influencing Team Choice
One of the most significant factors in determining which NHL team to support is your geographic location. People tend to root for a home team, perhaps independent of their personal preferences, simply because they live near it.
If you are from Canada, chances are high that you already have some kind of idea about different teams and might have an affinity towards one or more, but if you’re not from Canada, then we’ve got you covered! The United States is where there is speculation over which team to support since each state has its team, suggesting geographical advantage matters.
Some popular hockey hotspots include Boston Bruins (MA), Tampa Bay Lightning (FL), Detroit Red Wings (MI), Chicago Blackhawks (IL) and Philadelphia Flyers (PA). If you are looking for great fan culture, Manitoba’s Winnipeg Jets could be your choice with incredibly passionate supporters filling up the Bell MTS Place arena every game night.
Local Team Rivalries and Fan Culture
Being part of local rivalries adds excitement to watching hockey games; it brings out a sense of pride and camaraderie among fans. Whether it’s cheering alongside other enthusiastic fans or facing off against rival supporters, this passion can create lifelong memories.
The New York Rangers/New York Islanders rivalry is legendary while Toronto Maple Leafs/Montreal Canadiens also make for exciting match-ups. Long-standing and historical rivalries like these are often based on both geographical proximity and memorable past encounters. Taking sides means understanding the history behind them – even if through friendly banter with rival team supporters!
“Perhaps the fiercest current rivalry in NCAA men’s ice hockey pits two Big Ten teams: Penn State vs. Ohio State”
To get a proper taste of the Wild West, for example, head down to Texas where Dallas Stars are all about cowboy hats and boots. Game-day experience there includes armed mascots with western accents, shooting stars on arena jumbotron upon goals, among other things, making it an immersive experience.
Opportunities for fantastic fan culture exist across North America, including in some unexpected places such as Arizona Coyotes – one of the newest teams on the block has still created a vibrant fanbase that is warm and welcoming even up against newer or bigger teams.In conclusion, while there may not be an objectively right or wrong choice when it comes to choosing which NHL team you should support, identifying with your geographic location and its related rivalries or passionate fan culture absolutely helps newcomers venture out.
Top 5 NHL Teams to Follow
Top Teams Based on Recent Performance
If you’re looking to support an NHL team based on their recent performance, then these are some of the top teams right now:
- Tampa Bay Lightning – With back-to-back President’s Trophy wins and a championship in 2020, the Lightning have been dominating the league.
- Vegas Golden Knights – Since joining the league in 2017, the Golden Knights have made it to the playoffs every year and reached the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural season.
- Carolina Hurricanes – The Hurricanes had a strong showing in the 2021 playoffs, making it to the second round. They have also made the playoffs three years in a row.
- Colorado Avalanche – Led by superstar Nathan MacKinnon, the Avalanche finished first in their division this past season and made it to the second round of the playoffs.
- New York Islanders – Despite facing numerous injuries, the Islanders were able to make it to the Stanley Cup Semi-Finals this year thanks to their solid team play and coaching.
Top Teams Based on Historical Legacy
If you’re a fan of legendary NHL franchises with historical legacies, here are some teams worth considering:
- Montreal Canadiens – The most successful franchise in NHL history, the Canadiens have won a record 24 Stanley Cups and boast a long list of all-time greats who have worn the iconic “CH” jersey.
- Toronto Maple Leafs – Though they haven’t won a cup since 1967, the Maple Leafs remain one of the most popular teams in hockey due to their dedicated fanbase and rich history.
- Detroit Red Wings – One of the “Original Six” teams, the Red Wings have won 11 Stanley Cups throughout their storied history and are known for their iconic red and white jerseys.
- New York Rangers – Another member of the Original Six, the Rangers have a passionate fanbase and plenty of history to go along with it, including four Stanley Cup championships.
- Boston Bruins – The Bruins have been around since 1924 and have won six Stanley Cups, making them one of the more successful Original Six teams. They also have some memorable moments in their history, such as Bobby Orr’s famous flying goal in the 1970 Finals.
“Hockey is Canada’s game and has a rich history that all fans should learn about.” – Wayne Gretzky
Deciding which NHL team to support depends on your personal preferences and what you value most in a sports franchise. Whether you’re looking for a winning team, a historic franchise, or simply a fun group of players to follow, there’s sure to be an NHL team that fits the bill.
Choosing the Right Team for You
Choosing which NHL team to support is a personal decision, but there are several factors you should consider before making your choice.
Team Styles and Strategies
If you’re an analytical person who enjoys strategizing about the game, you might want to look at each team’s playing style. The NHL has 32 teams divided into two conferences: Eastern and Western. Each team possesses its own unique coaching philosophy tied with their chosen system of play.
- The Boston Bruins rely on physicality and defensive strategy to win games.
- The Chicago Blackhawks have a fast-paced style aimed at overwhelming opponents.
- The Los Angeles Kings’ focus is on strong defense while trying to create opportunities off turnovers.
Take some time to research a few of the different styles and see which resonates with you.
Identifying with Player Personalities
Another thing to think about when choosing an NHL team is identification with individual players. Teams often have personalities that are defined by the people who play for them. For example, if you’re drawn to charismatic players in leadership positions, like captains, you could root for teams such as:
- Zdeno Chara, captain of the Washington Capitals.
- Ryan Getzlaf, captain of the Anaheim Ducks.
- Connor McDavid, captain of the Edmonton Oilers.
Conversely, perhaps you enjoy rooting for young up-and-coming talent without a captain or established player status. Consider teams like:
- The Buffalo Sabres, with talented rookie Rasmus Dahlin.
- The Carolina Hurricanes, led by rising star Sebastian Aho.
- The Arizona Coyotes, with dynamic winger Clayton Keller.
Team Fan Base and Culture
You may also want to factor in a team’s fanbase or city they play for. Team culture can vary significantly based on where the team is located, but you might find that resonating with your favorite team’s fans feels just as important to your ultimate choice as their playing style.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs have long been known for having a passionate group of supporters.
- The Vegas Golden Knights have quickly built one of the most loyal and boisterous fanbases with unique gameday atmosphere at T-Mobile Arena.
- The Edmonton Oilers boast some of the loudest support in the league from die-hard hockey fans who are used to bitterly cold winters.
Team Location and Accessibility
Last but not least, geography and accessibility are crucial factors in choosing which NHL team to support. For example, consider whether you’d like a quick trip to see them play live, or if perhaps watching games with friends requires different start times to account for time zone differences. Here are some considerations:
- If you’re living close to North Carolina, you should check out the Hurricanes or relocate to Ohio and become Blue Jackets fans (located in Columbus).
- If you reside in California, there are three teams: The Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks based throughout the state.
- The New York metro area has two rivals: The Islanders and Rangers.
“It’s always about trying to figure out how we can get better.” -Kyle Dubas, General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
When it comes to choosing which NHL team to support, it’s all about finding a connection. Whether you’re excited by how the game is played or feel in sync with your favorite player’s persona, looking around and getting an idea of what different teams can offer will be your best bet.
Team History and Legacy
The history of the NHL is rich with teams that have left their mark on the league. One team, in particular, has created a legacy both on and off the ice: The Montreal Canadiens. With a history dating back to 1909, the Quebec-based franchise is the oldest and has won more Stanley Cup titles than any other team in the league.
Team Founding and Early Years
The Montreal Canadiens were founded in 1909 by J. Ambrose O’Brien as part of the National Hockey Association (NHA). In their early years, they faced many challenges, including a lack of funding and difficulties attracting high-caliber players. However, despite these obstacles, the Canadiens managed to win their first Stanley Cup title in 1916.
Over time, the Canadiens would become one of the most successful franchises in professional sports. They’ve won the Stanley Cup championship 24 times, second only to the New York Yankees’ record 27 World Series championships. Their success can be attributed in large part to the numerous legendary players who have worn the Canadiens uniform throughout the years.
Key Players and Championship Wins
During its long history, the Canadiens have been home to some of the greatest players in hockey. These iconic athletes include Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, Guy Lafleur, and Ken Dryden. Each player played an integral role in bringing the Stanley Cup trophy to Montreal multiple times. For instance, Maurice Richard was known for his incredible scoring ability which helped lead the Habs to eight championships from the 1940s-1950s.
One of the biggest moments in Canadiens history occurred in 1977 when they became the first team in NHL history to win five consecutive Stanley Cup titles. This historic feat cemented their place in hockey history as one of the greatest teams to ever play the game.
Notable Team Feuds and Rivalries
No great team can be complete without some major rivalries, and Montreal Canadiens have had their fair share throughout their 112-year history. One of their most notable rivalries is with the Boston Bruins. The two teams first met in the playoffs in 1929, and their battles would continue for decades. In fact, in 2011, a playoff matchup between the Bruins and Canadiens saw several high profile incidents, including a dangerous hit from Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara on Montreal forward Max Pacioretty that almost ended his career.
Their biggest rivalry, however, lies with arguably their closest geographic rivals – the Toronto Maple Leafs. The two Original Six franchises have faced off over 700 times since their first meeting in 1917, making it the most played rivalry in NHL history. These games are always full of excitement and drama, with both fan bases being vocal and passionate about their respective teams’ success.
“Canadiens versus Maple Leafs has stood the test of time because it’s based on respect — they acknowledge how good their adversary is.” – Dan Robson, Sportsnet
So if you’re looking for a team with a rich history, legendary players, and intense rivalries, then the Montreal Canadiens may just be the team for you to support. They’ve left a mark that will endure long after today’s stars have hung up their skates, and their legacy continues to inspire generations of fans and future NHL players alike.
Get to Know the Players and Coaches
Player Stats and Performance Metrics
If you’re looking for an NHL team to support, it’s important to consider the players. Look at their stats and performance metrics to determine if they align with what you value in a player.
- Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals): The Russian forward is one of the best goal scorers of all time, having won eight Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophies as the league’s top scorer.
- Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins): Crosby has been considered by many as the face of the NHL since his debut in 2005 and has led the Penguins to three Stanley Cup Championships.
- Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche): The Canadian center is known for his speed and skill on the ice, making him a standout player for the Colorado Avalanche.
- Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers): At just 24 years old, this Canadian center is already considered one of the greatest hockey players of all time due to his unmatched speed and playmaking abilities.
Coach Philosophies and Strategies
It’s also important to look at the coaches when considering which NHL team to support. Each coach brings their own philosophies and strategies to the game, which can greatly impact a team’s success.
“Our system is designed around puck possession. We want to hold onto the puck and make other teams chase us.” -Mike Babcock, former head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs
Babcock was known for his emphasis on puck possession during his tenure as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. This strategy can make for exciting, fast-paced hockey that fans enjoy watching.
“We want to be a four-line team. We tell our guys all the time there’s certain things we have no control over: who we play and when we play them. But what we do have control over is how we go out and perform.” -Barry Trotz, head coach of the New York Islanders
Trotz places a strong emphasis on teamwork and making sure every player contributes equally to the game. This philosophy has led the Islanders to some impressive victories in recent years.
Frequently Asked Questions
What factors should I consider when choosing an NHL team to support?
When choosing an NHL team to support, there are several factors to consider. First, consider geographic proximity to the team, as this can make it easier to attend games and connect with other fans. Next, consider the team’s history and success, as well as their current roster of players and style of play. You may also want to consider the team’s fan base and overall atmosphere of their arena. Ultimately, choose a team that resonates with you on a personal level and that you can support through both the highs and lows of a season.
Which NHL team has the most passionate fan base?
While all NHL teams have passionate fan bases, some stand out above the rest. The Montreal Canadiens have a long and storied history, with fans who are known for their unwavering loyalty and dedication. The Chicago Blackhawks also have a passionate fan base, with a strong following both inside and outside of Chicago. Finally, the Pittsburgh Penguins have some of the most dedicated fans in the league, with a strong social media presence and a reputation for packing their arena for every game.
Which NHL team has the most successful history?
When it comes to success on the ice, few NHL teams can compare to the Montreal Canadiens. With 24 Stanley Cup championships to their name, the Canadiens have a long and storied history of success. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings are also among the most successful teams in NHL history, with 13 and 11 championships respectively. However, success in the past doesn’t necessarily guarantee success in the future, so it’s important to consider a team’s current roster and management when making a decision.
Which NHL team has the most exciting style of play?
When it comes to exciting style of play, the Edmonton Oilers are hard to beat. Led by superstar Connor McDavid, the Oilers play a fast-paced, high-scoring game that is sure to keep fans on the edge of their seats. The Colorado Avalanche are also known for their exciting style of play, with a focus on speed and skill. And of course, the Pittsburgh Penguins are always a thrill to watch, with their dynamic offense and penchant for come-from-behind victories.
Which NHL team has the most likeable players?
While every NHL team has its share of likeable players, some stand out above the rest. The Nashville Predators are known for their fun-loving, humorous team culture, with players like P.K. Subban and Roman Josi leading the way. The Vegas Golden Knights also have a likable roster, with players like Marc-Andre Fleury and William Karlsson capturing the hearts of fans. And of course, the Carolina Hurricanes have become a fan favorite in recent years, with their creative celebrations and infectious enthusiasm.
Which NHL team has the best arena atmosphere?
When it comes to arena atmosphere, few teams can compare to the Nashville Predators. The Bridgestone Arena is known for its lively crowds, with fans decked out in gold and cheering on their team with passion and enthusiasm. The Vegas Golden Knights also have a unique and exciting arena atmosphere, with elaborate pre-game shows and a raucous crowd. Finally, the Chicago Blackhawks have a classic and iconic arena atmosphere, with fans singing the national anthem in unison before every home game.