Well, two can play this game, and I am hereby making my own list of the best and worst fanbases in the NHL. I'm going to base it on strict criteria, with numbers and a complex formula (I may even use division and multiplication!) and everything. This makes it science and therefore completely irrefutable, so don't bother trying. So here's my criteria:
Average Winter Temperature: See any asshole can go to an ice hockey game when it's 30º below outside. In those cities you'll probably attract 5,000 people just for the 60º increase in temperature. What else is there to do when it's that cold out? You could:
- Go to a hockey game
- Watch a hockey team on TV
- Fornicate with your spouse, who has probably put on 30 lbs of "insulation" for the winter.
Scoring: 1 point for every degree above 32ºF that the average January high is in the base city (if it's below 32ºF. It's negative points)
Road Attendance: Road attendance is the direct result of 1 thing: Bangwagon fans. Everyone hates them, even true fans of the team. So the teams with the top road attendance obviously have more Bandwagon fans, which dilutes the awesomeness of their fanbase. So here's the formula:
(1 - % road attendance ) * 3.8 = Points
Cities with Rich Hockey traditions dating back years and years have fans that have been brainwashed since they were young into cheering for the hometeam. My 3-year old currently believes (because I told him) that mermaids live in the pond by my house, monsters live in the furnace closet I don't want him going in, and the NBA and WWE aren't rigged. Do you know how easy it's going to be to brainwash into being an Avs fan for life this winter? Now multiply that with 3-5 generations of mind-numbing local propaganda in some cities and its clear that fans of teams that have been around for a long time are just mindless sheep following the local team because everyone else is. Basically, they're bandwagon but can't come to grips with it.
The newer the team, the more someone has had to make a conscious decision to actually follow that team. Their numbers may be smaller, but we stress quality over quantity here and a fanbase made up of solely people who have had to make rational decisions on who they want to cheer for.
Scoring the scoring system:
-- (-10) points for being an original 6
-- 0 for being part of the '67 expansion
-- 1 point for every year after 1967 that a team was founded in it's current city (i.e Carolina gets 30 points since they were moved to Carolina in '97, not 12 for being founded in Hartford in 79) . (Maximum 30)
(Addendum If a team lost then regained a team they only get points for the amount of time the city was without a team. For example the Avs get 9 points for the time before getting the Rockies, and then they get 13 for going from '82-95 without a team, for a total of 21 points.)
Franchise Movement If your franchise has moved in the last 25 years, it's probably because the fans didn't care enough to keep their franchise there in the first place. Sure there might be some minor external forces at play here, but the reality is if a fanbase supported its team better it would never move, especially in the last 25 years. Conventional Hockey wisdom (i.e. Canadian, Minnesotan and New England) says that the reason Sun-Belt teams struggle is because of poor fan support, and I assume this extends to all franchises, so any city that has lost a franchise in the last 25 years loses points.
On the flip side, franchises that were in danger but ultimately stayed obviously did so because the plucky fans support was so great that it overcame the evil corporate owners attempts to move the franchise out of town. So Bonus points to franchises that were threatened by relocation, but stuck around thanks to their fans.
Also any team that successfully seduced a team from a different market (especially one north of them) also gets bonus points. The northern fans are supposed to be so much better, then how could they possibly lose their team to a place with such ignoramus hockey fans.
-15 points for losing a franchise in the last 25 years
-15 points more if that was to a city south of that city.
0 for non-movement
+15 points for seducing a team within the last 25 years
+15 more if that team came from north of the city
+15 points for overcoming evil CEOs to thwart relocation.
Savvy Good savvy fans won't support an inept franchise. Good fans are shrewd and force their team to aim to win by only shelling out money for a winning product. Obviously the best fans have franchises that win the Cup recently, while the worst ones keep coming out and making their ownership money without any incentive to get better.
Scoring Start at 30 and subtract 1 point for every year since your team last appeared in the Cup Finals. (-30 min) Divide that by the rank of your team in % attendance last season, and multiply by 30. (see formulas)
Success Good fans lift their teams over inferior opponents. For every time a lower seeded team knocks off a higher seeded team in the playoffs in the last 5 years, that team gets 5 points.
Of course the flip side is true, bad fans inexplicably let their team lose to a lower seeded team even though they had home-ice advantage. They didn't cheer hard enough. - 5 points to any team knocked out by a lower-seeded team in the last season.
The best fans clearly get on the internet to voice their opinions. And since I am a connoisseur of the internet, and hockey community all-together, I feel like I can accurately hand out points to the hockey community's fans based on my experience. Also stupidity matters. The dumber the comments for a particular fanbase are, again in my expert judgement, the more points I take away.
I also take into account hockey fans I run into as well. And no I don't think this is at all bias towards Sharks, Avs and Blue Jackets fans even though I have lived in San Jose, Denver and Columbus.
Also "General blogs" don't count, even if the fan is clearly a fan of a certain team. That means the Devils don't get credit for Wyshynski and Leopore because those aren't specifically Devils blogs. Same for Les Ailes de Rouge with Kukla
Also a team will be docked points if a teams online presence (blogger/media person) has ever published a list of best fanbases/franchises list to either:
- Be a smug, condescending, prick toward fanbases whom they feel aren't worthy
- Hide their own insecurities about their own fan base by artificially ranking them high.
- Pretentiously thinking that because hockey isn't as popular in an area means that somehow fans from that area can't appreciate the game on the same level as your fans
- Having a double standard that one set of fans are bad for not showing up to games when their team is bad, yet another set is savvy instead of just realizing that the reason fans don't show up to games is much more about winning and losing.
- Completely miss the point of hockey/sport/fandom, which is that it can bridge across geographic, cultural, and political divides to provide a wonderful focus that brings people together over their love of the sport despite their cultural differences, by publishing a list that condescendingly separates different fans based on these factors.
- Be completely ignorant to the challenges and circumstances of different franchises and the fans of those franchises
- Point out the inherent stupidity in painting fanbases with a broad brush that completely neglects the context of their franchise and situation.
- Sarcastically mock the making of such stupid lists because they are completely subjective, lazy, and a cheap way to throw potshots at teams you don't personally like/think should exist.
30. Minnesota Wild (-30,000 points):
- Lost their team to Dallas (way in the south), despite years of tradition
- Lost to a lower seeded Colorado team in last years playoffs.
- Whined about Lappy's "fight" with Gaborik
- Haven't willed their team to a cup finals.
- Holy hell it's cold there.
- Most fans probably prefer the Gophers anyways
- Despite a pretty good online presence from Most Wild Bloggers (Wild Puck Banter,18,568 reasons why , Land of Lakes hockey, etc) their awesomeness isn't enough to overcome the assholery displayed in the original list that spawned this column, or Bruce Ciskie's general disdain for the Avs over the last two years.
- I created this list just for the sole purpose of ranking franchises that I look down upon low, while tossing some conventional wisdom ones (i.e. one's that, on the surface, give my list a hint of credibility) that I don't care about in there as well. Obviously this means the Wild and Wings will be based lowly.
- I once felt compelled to make the above photoshop for them for their fans
- Highest road attendance in the league
- Original 6
- Tons and Tons of bandwagon fans
- Still fucking cold
- Really Really large, yet very stupid, online presence
- I'm sick and tired of their pissing match with Pens fans.
- Again, This is essentially personal rankings hidden behind an obtuse nonsensical formula shrouded with personal bias.
- Because Les Ailes Fans are dumbasses (see photo evidence below)
- Online presence is terrible, I mean most of the blogs are incomprehensible.
- Haven't won a cup since '67
- Cliche "placing them one spot ahead of their hated rivals" pick so that the rivals come to my site, give me hits with a bunch of boring "We're better than Rival X... waaaaahhhhh" comments
- Original 6
- Down Goes Brown and PPP are pretty awesome though.
- Token "shocking" pick a slap in the face to an obviously dedicated fan base in order to troll for hits even though placing them here pretty much contradicts everything I laid out in my criteria criteria.
- If I my subjective nonsensical formula gives me too many answers that aren't considered common knowledge then everyone will know it's full of shit, so I'll throw this one in here so people will say dumb stuff like "Well Florida is low, so obviously it's right" despite the fact that it goes against everything my criteria established above.
24- 7 (the rest of the teams)
6. Philadelphia Flyers (5,000 points)
- Gotta throw a team with a good fan base up top, but not too high, to keep my shred of credibility
- Since this is all pretty subjective, I'm putting them here so that placing the Avs higher looks reasonable, without being an insult to Nashville fans.
- Fought Balsille and won
- The Forechecker has a great blog
- Have to deal with douchey-supposedly smart fans from up north, telling us and others the Avs are candidates for relocation even though the Avs owner is worth $3.4B dollars, owns the building the Avs play in and has a significant local investment.
- Have to deal with douchey-supposedly smart fans from up north telling us we're bandwagons fans, despite the fact the reason attendance struggles is mostly because the Avs ticket prices are among the most expensive in the league. (And the avs perpetuate this myth by putting excluding every single lower-bowl seat from the Fan cost index, which makes it look like Avs games are cheap.)
- Because putting them as #1 would be a very self-serving and asshole thing to do. Putting them #4 gives me a hint of objectivity.
- Online presence is 10x bigger than everyone else's. I mean I see more Avs sites every day than all other team sites combined.
- Stole a team from Canada, which takes balls and great fans.
- They have to be good fans to steal a franchise from Minnesota right?
- Won a Cup recently
- Met a ton of Stars fans this year. Of course I went to Dallas and watched a Stars -Wings game at a sportsbar while there, but I'm sure that doesn't impact my bias at all.
- The absolute case study for When franchise ownership is doing things right, they have good fans. When they are inept, fans will abandon them, yet because they are in Florida are stupidly dismissed as Sun Belt fans
- Had excellent fan support when the franchise ownershipwasn't a joke.
- Won a cup
- The Hulkster said he'd kick my ass if I ranked them lower.
- Stole a team from the NE
- Won a cup, and got to a cup finals.
- Relatively mild in the Winter.
- New franchise with good fans
- Hockeystick with Hurricane flag logo is awesome.