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Justin Trudeau was right: you should cheer for the Senators

We set out to prove the Prime Minister wrong in drumming up support for the Ottawa Senators, the lone Canadian team left in the Stanley Cup playoffs. But the data says he’s right.


 
May 13, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Ottawa Senators right wing Bobby Ryan (9) celebrates with teammates after scoring the over time goal to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins in game one of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. (Don Wright/USA Today Sports/Reuters)

May 13, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Ottawa Senators right wing Bobby Ryan (9) celebrates with teammates after scoring the over time goal to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins in game one of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. (Don Wright/USA Today Sports/Reuters)

Justin Trudeau isn’t a true Ottawa Senators fan—his hockey allegiance lies with the Montreal Canadiens—but last week the Prime Minister made it known that he’s flexible.

“I think all Canadians will be rooting for the final Canadian team in the Stanley Cup playoffs,” Trudeau said last week in Brampton, Ont. “We’re all happy to support Ottawa right now and even Torontonians and Montrealers can agree on this.”

Skepticism rightfully ensued. Simply because the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t make it past the first round of the playoffs doesn’t mean their fans should shift their loyalty without good reason. Nor should Edmonton Oilers fans, still stinging from a Game 7 loss in the second round, feel the need to express their patriotism through finding another team located north of the border.

Even some Ottawa Senators fans protested the suggestion that the rest of the country rally behind them. As Maclean’s journalist Shannon Proudfoot said on Twitter:

With only four teams left in pursuit of Lord Stanley’s cup—the Senators, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Nashville Predators and the Anaheim Ducks—Maclean’s set out to prove the Prime Minister wrong by digging into the numbers, from the players, to the coaches, to ownership, to find out which team is truly the most Canadian and worthy of the entire nation’s support.

And after looking into the stats, it turns out that team is—yes—the Ottawa Senators.

(We did something like this twice before, during the 2015 and 2016 playoffs if you want to go back and take a look.)

Comparing rosters, the Senators have more Canadian players (17) than any of the four teams left in contention. They also are the only team with at least one player representing the provinces of B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. (Sorry, Atlantic Canada.) More Canadians on the roster means the Stanley Cup will spend more time in the great white north, as the Cup splits its time with players on the winning team.

Standing on the bench, the Senators are one of two teams with a Canadian head coach—the Anaheim Ducks being the other. But unlike the Ducks, the Senators have not eliminated any Canadian team en route to the Conference Finals, and thus avoided stirring up any bad blood with Canadian fans from other cities.

The Senators’s patriotism résumé is not without its faults. They are the lone team without a Canadian as team captain (though their team roster lists three alternate captains—all of them Canadian), their starting goalie is American, and P.K. Subban doesn’t play for them.

How Canadian is each team — on and off the ice?

= Canadian = Not Canadian

Canadians on roster 19 17 12 15
Head Coach
Captain
Alternate Captain
Starting Goalie
Have not eliminated a Canadian team?
Owner? *

* co-owned by Canadian and American.

And yet, from top to bottom, the Senators are by far the most Canadian team left out there—even off the ice. They are the only remaining playoff team entirely Canadian-owned. Their home arena is called the “Canadian Tire Centre.” And those home games are located in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata— kanata being a Huron-Iroquois word meaning “village” from which the word “Canada” itself is said to derive. The Ducks, Predators and Penguins have little to offer Canadians by comparison.

There’s also some analytical evidence that Canadians are keener on the Senators than the rest of the lot, if our use of Google is any indication. This chart shows the relative search interest in the four teams in Canada over the past 30 days—the Senators have consistently been on top.

GoogleSens1

Meanwhile here is how the provinces compare in their search interest in the remaining four teams. Only in Alberta and Nova Scotia (where Sidney Crosby of the Penguins hails from) have people been googling other teams more than the Senators.

GoogleSens2

The Ottawa Senators aren’t Canada’s team now because the Prime Minister said so. On the contrary, they are Canada’s team because the data bears it out.


 

Justin Trudeau was right: you should cheer for the Senators

  1. I have no interest in doing anything a fool tells me to. I have had an allegiance to one team for decades, and that allegiance will not change in the slightest simply because another team is the last Canadian team left in the playoffs. This is the same ridiculous mentality, which suggests I should become fans of Drake or Justin Bieber for the lame reason that they’re Canadian. Typical moronic politician and mainstream media mentality. Freedom of choice, Trudeau? Ever heard of it? Didn’t think so.

  2. I am a big Leafs fan and always will be. But I will still cheer for Ottawa. For me, the Battle of Ontario is long dead. I was old enough to enjoy those days, but there is literally no more rivalry among the two teams. Am I going to be super happy if Ottawa wins the Cup? No. But of the 4 teams remaining of which I have no interest, I can at least be a bit happy to know if some other Canadians will be just as happy if their team wins like how I would feel if the Leafs win. I also dislike Bettmans plan to sell hockey in the USA and be anti Canadian, so there is another reason why I cheer for Canada. It will hurt his ratings! :)

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