What NHL team has the most loyal fans?
Ever wondered which NHL team has the best fans? We’ve ranked each hockey franchise to reveal the most loyal fanbases in the NHL. Find out where your team ranks.
With the NHL playoffs well underway, we’re beginning to get an idea of who might be battling it out for this year’s conference titles and the coveted Stanley Cup. But despite all the success, which NHL franchises can claim to have the most dedicated supporters? We decided to find out!
Comparing each NHL team across a range of factors, including average stadium attendance, jersey popularity and social media following and engagement, we’ve been able to rank the hockey franchises with the most loyal supporters. Read on to find out the best NHL fanbases and where your favorite teams rank…
Ranking the Loyalty of each NHL Team's Fanbase
- Boston Bruins
Taking the top spot with an impressive overall index score of 2.84 out of 4, the Boston Bruins officially have the most loyal supporters in the NHL. This is thanks to the team’s 100% average attendance, 5.6 million social media followers, and relatively strong engagement rate on Instagram (1.89%).
Supporters enjoyed a thrilling regular season, which saw the New England franchise walk their way to a playoff place and the Presidents’ Trophy, recording an astonishing 65 wins and 135 points along the way – both NHL records – but they were unfortunately shocked after a surprising defeat to the Florida Panthers in the first round.
- New York Rangers
Placing second, staying on the east coast, we have the New York Rangers, with an index score of 2.69.
Despite the Rangers having enjoyed limited on-ice success, with just one Presidents’ Trophy in over almost 30 years and a single Stanley Cup since 1940, the team certainly has a dedicated fanbase. Delving into the data, the Rangers can boast the fifth-highest social media following in the NHL (4.5 million) and the fourth-most Google-searched jersey, as well as a respectable Instagram engagement rate of 1.63%.
- Chicago Blackhawks
In third, six-time Stanley Cup champions the Chicago Blackhawks are the top-rated Western Conference franchise with a score of 2.59. Though the team’s average stadium attendance sits at just 93.8%, placing them outside the top 10, their social media presence is better than any other NHL franchise.
In fact, with almost 7 million followers across all platforms, the Blackhawks have almost three times as many fans as the St. Louis Blues (2.4 million). Despite this, however, the team’s Instagram engagement rate (1.24%) is only slightly above average (1.14%), behind the Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild (1.29%).
- Dallas Stars
Placing fourth, the Dallas Stars record an index score of 2.47, largely helped along by having the third-most popular jerseys, with over 112,000 Google searches in the last 12 months. They also have an impressive Instagram engagement rate of 1.67%, despite their social media following (2.4 million) being ranked 15th in the NHL.
The Stars came close to winning this season’s Central Division, missing out by just a single point, but fans will still hold out hope for a second Conference Championship in three years and their first Stanley Cup this century, as the team battles through the playoffs.
- Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs may have the third-most Stanley Cup appearances and wins, but they’ve not tasted serious success in over 50 years – that’s a couple of generations of fans who’ve had their loyalty consistently tested. Put into context, in the period since their last Stanley Cup title, the Montreal Canadiens have won an incredible 10 championships.
This has earned Maple Leafs supporters a place among the best NHL fans, with an index score of 2.42. Though the stadium attendance rate (82.8%) often falls below the league average, the team’s social media following is one of the strongest in the league – in fact, they’re one of just four franchises to boast more than 5 million fans across all platforms.
- Colorado Avalanche
Next up, we have last season’s champions, the Colorado Avalanche, who have the sixth-most loyal fans in the NHL, with an index score of 2.41. Last year’s triumph maintained the team’s 100% record in Stanley Cup finals, and they remain the only team to go undefeated when it matters. However, with just one title in over 20 years, many Avalanche fans will claim their loyalty has been tested nonetheless!
Impressively, though, the team continues to have a very visible presence among supporters, with their jersey officially the second-most popular of all NHL franchises. This comes as Avalanche replica-wear recorded a remarkable 116,800 Google searches from supporters over the last year.
- Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins fans also feature among the best supporters in the NHL, placing seventh with an index score of 2.36. Their high ranking is helped along by the Penguins having the second-widest reach on social media, with a staggering 6.5 million followers around the world - almost twice that of the Philadelphia Flyers (3.3 million) and nearly five times as many as the Columbus Blue Jackets (1.4 million).
However, despite an impressive following, the Penguins’ Instagram engagement rate (0.57%) is actually among the worst in the league, ahead of only the Blue Jackets (0.51%) and the Vancouver Canucks (0.08%).
- Carolina Hurricanes
With an index score of 2.34, supporters of the Carolina Hurricanes rank eighth among the best NHL fanbases. The team is currently going through a strong period, having just won their division for the third year in a row – after a barren era that saw the franchise fail to capitalize on Stanley Cup success in 2006 - with fans hopeful for a shot at just a second-ever championship title.
Interestingly, despite the recent return, the team can only boast 1.5 million followers across all social media platforms; though, no other NHL Instagram account has a better engagement rate among fans (2.92%).
- Seattle Kraken
Despite the team only being founded in 2021 and currently enjoying just their second-ever season of NHL action, Seattle Kraken supporters have earned a place among the most loyal hockey fans, with a score of 2.27. Fans in the city have been starved of a professional team since the Totems folded in ’75, so it’s no surprise that the Kraken has been an instant hit!
In fact, the franchise already tops the charts for fans looking to buy replica-wear, with an incredible 134,000 Google searches for jerseys in the last year alone. However, they’ve a long way to go if they want to compete on social media, with just 1.3 million followers across all platforms – more than only the Florida Panthers (1.1 million) and Arizona Coyotes (1.2 million).
- Minnesota Wild
Rounding out the ten best NHL fanbases, we have the Minnesota Wild, with supporters recording an index score of 2.23. Since being founded in the year 2000, the Wild have earned just one division title – all the way back in 2008 - and peaked at the playoff stage 12 times, to no avail (they’re one of the only NHL teams to never win the Stanley Cup), so supporters should be congratulated for their continued commitment.
Impressively, the team enjoys maximum fan support each game, with a 100% stadium attendance, as well as a having the fifth-most popular jerseys (96,000 Google searches in the last 12 months). However, the franchise’s online following (2.1 million) is below average for the NHL (2.7 million), while their Instagram engagement rate sits at just 1.29%.
Which teams have the highest attendances?
Focusing solely on gameday attendances, we can reveal that the Vegas Golden Knights have the best in-person support. Impressively, the T-Mobile Arena is regularly oversubscribed and records an average attendance of 104.2%. Next up, we have the Nashville Predators (100.6%) and Minnesota Wild (100.4%), followed by the Washington Capitals (100.4%) and Seattle Kraken (100.3%), each of which also exceed full capacity.
Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning regularly welcome a full house. And rounding out the best-attended NHL teams, we have the New York Islanders (99%), St. Louis Blues (97.9%), Colorado Avalanche (97.2%) and Pittsburgh Penguins (97.2%).
With the NHL playoffs well underway, fans of the favorites are hoping to celebrate Stanley Cup success next month, while those who miss out will swiftly turn their attention to the draft and who they might be cheering on in the new season.
In the meantime, while we wait to see who’s crowned, head on over to our NHL blog for even more insight from our experts, including our handy guide on how the Stanley Cup playoffs work and the 10 best NHL playoff series of all time.
To determine the most loyal fans in the NHL, we considered four factors:
- Average capacity percentage: the average attendance for each team’s stadium during the 21/22 season.
- Social media following: the total number of followers for each team across Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook.
- Jersey popularity: the number of searches on Google in the last 12 months for each team + "Jersey".
- Instagram engagement rate: the rate of engagement on each team’s Instagram account.
Each team was ranked for each factor and assigned a normalized index score between 0-1. The normalized values were then summed for each team, to give each team a score between 0-4. The teams were then ranked.
Data gathered is correct as of 04/28/2023. The most recent data was used where possible.
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