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Oui The North: Still Canada’s Team

By JD Lagrange – According to numbers recently published by Sportsnet, the Montreal Canadiens have survived a pretty awful stretch while managing to retain their title of “Canada’s Team”. This is particularly impressive considering that in the meantime, the second favourite team nation-wide, the Toronto Maple Leafs, were one of the Stanley Cup contenders, only to fail winning a playoffs’ series for the 18th consecutive season.

The numbers

Here is Sportsnet’s breakdown of percentage by region. Instead of using by province, they have amalgamated the Maritimes as one region and the prairies (Manitoba and Saskatchewan) as another.

Facts to note, the Canadiens are in the top-3 in all regions and in the top-2 in four of the six regions. The Leafs find themselves outside the top-3 in three of the six regions.

Populations argument

According to the most recent data from Statistic Canada, the total population in the country sits at around 38,654,738.

British Columbia5,286,528

That is not considering the Territories, Yukon and Nunavut, which count for about 128,000 in population. But one can assume that the trend would be very close.

Now, based on Sportsnet’s percentages, here’s the breakdown between the two most popular teams in Canada:

Quebec6,489,888not top-3
British Columbia422,922not top-3
Alberta225,046not top-3

Granted that those numbers are a bit skewed as not every Canadian is a hockey fan, but we can agree that most are at least a little bit across Canada.

The results show that the Toronto Maple Leafs have more fans in the country. However, they are almost exclusively in Ontario while the Montreal Canadiens are in the top-3 in all regions in Canada. So we can safely say that while Toronto is Ontario’s team, the Canadiens are Canada’s favourite team by a wide margin. At least in percentage of population across the country. Even in Ontario, the Habs are the second favourite team!

Imagine now how those numbers will be affected when the Canadiens return to winning on a more regular basis! It is no stretch to think that the scale will only be tipping more in favour of the team sporting the red, white and blue uniform.

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