Survey says, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the country's most hated hockey team - Macleans.ca

Survey says, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the country’s most hated hockey team

EXCLUSIVE POLL: Who’s dirty? Who’s admired? Who’s loved? And who likes Don Cherry?

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The Canucks as Canada’s most hated team? Think again. A new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll conducted in partnership with Maclean’s has found that Toronto—not Vancouver—is the country’s most hated hockey team. It turns out Vancouver, which has worn the “hated” label since last spring’s failed Stanley Cup run, is actually one of the country’s most popular teams. Montreal, meanwhile, is the country’s favourite club.

But while Canada may respect the Canucks, it doesn’t mean they’re going to cheer for them this playoff season.

In the wide-ranging hockey poll, Canadians were asked to name their most loved—and hated—Canadian NHL franchise, to name teams they find arrogant, dirty or disrespected, and to say what they actually think of Don Cherry.

LOVE/HATE

The Leafs, it turns out, are a polarizing club—both loved and hated by a large segment of the population.

When Canadians are asked to name their favourite Canadian NHL club, 17 per cent chose the Leafs. When the question was reversed, and Canadians were asked to name their most hated national franchise, a slightly larger proportion, 19 per cent, chose the Leafs.

Like the Leafs, the Habs—the country’s other Original Six franchise—are also well loved. They’re the country’s most loved club, the choice of 19 per cent of Canadians. And they are also country’s next most despised team, among 15 per cent of Canadians.

Vancouver was the favourite club of 11 per cent of Canadians, while fourth place was a tie. Both Alberta franchises, the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames are favoured by five per cent of Canadians.

That picture changes, however, when you ask only hockey fans.

Among fans of the game, almost a quarter of the country, 24 per cent, name the Leafs their favourite team, followed by the Habs, with 21 per cent of the votes, and the Canucks, at 18 per cent. The Oilers, rounding out the list, come in with 13 per cent of votes.

PLAYOFFS

At this stage, 35 per cent of Canadians tell Angus Reid they’ll root for Vancouver, and one in five Canadians, 20 per cent, are supporting the Ottawa Senators.

Nearly half the country, 45 per cent, however, would prefer to see an American team take home the Cup over the Canucks, with Boston (11 per cent), Pittsburgh (8 per cent) and Detroit (8 per cent), the most popular choices.

CITIES AND HOCKEY

Canadians not only dislike the Leafs, they hold negative views of the team. They see them as weak (48 per cent), in decline (43 per cent), arrogant (39 per cent), boring (38 per cent) and overrated (38 per cent).

In a funny finding, Canadians view Toronto much the same way as their hockey team. Both the Leafs and Torontonians are seen as arrogant, dirty, disrespected and overrated.

But Canadians don’t just see Toronto and the Leafs as one and the same. The Alberta capital and the Oilers are both seen as down to earth, while the Jets and Winnipeggers are both seen as undervalued. Vancouver and the Canucks are both seen as strong, exciting and clean. Both Montrealers and the beloved Habs are seen as dirty and in decline.

But Canadians also hold positive views of the Habs, with 49 per cent agreeing it is a classic club, and 36 per cent calling it  admired.

Canadians also see the Canucks in a positive light. They see them as strong (47 per cent), exciting (36 per cent), clean (26 per cent).

DON CHERRY

No surprise, the game’s most divisive figure is a polarizing fellow. Just 40 per cent of Canadians say they have a favourable opinion of Don Cherry. Among hockey fans, however, that number jumps to 59 per cent. But what you feel about Grapes seems to depend on where you live: Albertans love him most (53 per cent), while only one in five Quebecers (19 per cent) have a favourable opinion of him.

But that’s just Cherry. Canadians have nothing but love for the game’s stars. A huge proportion of Canadians think favourably of Wayne Gretzky (87 per cent), Sidney Crosby (80 per cent) and Mario Lemieux (78 per cent).