TAMPA, Fla.—Having a team in the Stanley Cup Finals can’t help Canada bridge its regional divisions.
Not everyone north of the border was supporting the Montreal Canadiens as they tried in vain to deny the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning a second straight skate around the ice with hockey’s most cherished prize.
A cross-border online survey conducted over the weekend by Lager and the Association for Canadian Studies found 14 percent of respondents – including nearly one in four from Manitoba and Saskatchewan – cheering on Tampa Bay.
The Lightning emerged victorious in a 1-0 Game 5 victory over the Hubs on Wednesday, an unreasonably deep playoff run for one of Canada’s most storied hockey franchises.
Across the country, 57 percent of the survey’s 1,518 participants checked the box for hubs, with regional support being strongest in Quebec and weakest in the prairie provinces.
In Manitoba and Saskatchewan alone, support for Montreal failed to cross the 50 percent threshold, perhaps due to the early 4-0 exit from the playoffs that the Canadiens handed to the Winnipeg Jets last month.
Online surveys cannot be given a margin of error because they do not sample the population at random.
The survey also explored the political allegiance of respondents: Of those who said they planned to vote for Block Québécoise, 82 percent were supporting Habs, while 71 percent said liberals.
The New Democrats found support among 55 percent of those cheering on the Canadiens, ousting only 53 percent of the Conservatives and 42 percent of the Green Party.
The survey raised similar questions for a panel of 1,003 US respondents, and found that only 21 percent of them were supporting Bolt, while 14 percent supported Canada.
Two-thirds of American respondents—66 percent—said they don’t follow hockey.
by James McCartan