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Leafs or Oilers? Hockey fans split on which team will end Canada's Stanley Cup drought

Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid sits with Toronto Maple Leafs' Auston Matthews during the during the NHL All-Star skills competition in Toronto, Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid sits with Toronto Maple Leafs' Auston Matthews during the during the NHL All-Star skills competition in Toronto, Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
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The end of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) regular season is just days away and four Canadian teams have punched their ticket for the playoffs.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks each have a chance to not only win the Stanley Cup, but also put the nation’s more than three-decade NHL championship drought to an end.

However, opinion among Canadian hockey fans appears to be split as to which team represents the best chance to bring the Cup home.

A new survey of 1,615 Canadian adults by the Angus Reid Institute shows that one in five respondents believe either Toronto (21 per cent) or Edmonton (20 per cent) will take the trophy. Fourteen per cent of those surveyed think Vancouver will end the drought and five per cent think Winnipeg will get it done.

Asked which team respondents would “like” to see win the cup, an overwhelming 42 per cent voted for the Leafs, which the poll notes is largely influenced by Ontario’s larger population, 23 per cent voted for Vancouver, 22 per cent voted for Edmonton and 13 per cent voted for Winnipeg.

The last time a Canadian team won hockey’s biggest prize was back in 1993 when the Montreal Canadiens hoisted the cup. Since then, five of Canada’s seven hockey clubs have come close, but all failed to reach the top.

It’s no surprise then that the percentage of hockey fans in this country who don’t care which Canadian team wins the Cup is growing.

“For many Canadians, the team to win has evidently become less important than the act of winning,” the institute said in a news release issued Monday. “In 2016, 57 per cent of Canadians said they didn’t care which team ended the drought…Now, nearing two-thirds (64%) say they’ll cheer for any team that calls Canada home.”

Toronto heads into the playoffs 46-24-10 behind Auston Matthews’ league-leading 69 goals. Edmonton is 48-25-6, led by former Leaf Zach Hyman’s 53 goals.

The schedule for this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs has not yet been released.

Methodology

The online survey was conducted from April 9 to 11 among a randomized sample of 1,615 Canadian adults. The institute says a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. 

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