Half London are hockey fans, most of them Knights fans

| Filed under: Ontario

Corey Perry favourite London Knights alum now playing

TORONTO OCTOBER 7th, 2014 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 782 adults resident in London, Ontario, just less than half are NHL hockey fans (47%), and, of these, the vast majority are also London Knights fans (90% of NHL fans, or 42% of total London adults). Being an NHL fan is common to Gen Y (35 to 44 - 57%), males (58%), wealthier group ($8-K to $100K - 66%), those with some college or university (57%), parents (59%), provincial Liberal voters (53%) and in the southeast quadrant of the city (58%). Being a London Knights fan is characteristic of the least wealthy (95%), middle income groups ($60K to $80K - 96%), renters (95%), the least educated (94%), and in the northwest of the city (95%).

One sixth are extreme NHL fans

One sixth of NHL fans describe themselves as "extreme fans who watch every game possible and know all the stats" (15%), and a further one fifth are "enthusiastic fans who watch many games and know all the players" (18%). These two groups comprise one third of all hockey fans in London (33%). After this, the largest single group of NHL fans, about 4-in-10, describe themselves as "regular fans who watch some games and know all the rules" (38%), followed by one quarter who are "part time fans who watch a few games and the playoffs" (26%). Among Knights fans, results are very similar, with 3-in-10 at the top level (29%), either "extreme" (15%) or "enthusiastic" (14%). Close to 4-in-10 Knights fans, the largest group, are "regular fans" (37%) followed by 3-in-10 who are part-timers (29%).

One fifth of NHL fans attend games frequently

One fifth of those who are NHL hockey fans attend NHL games frequently (20%), followed by just fewer who attend from time to time (15%) for a total of one third of NHL fans who attend professional games (35%). The largest single group of NHL fans, about one quarter, attend pro games rarely (27%), while somewhat fewer used to attend but don't anymore (14%). Just one quarter of London's NHL fans don't attend NHL games (25%).

4-in-10 Knights fans attend games frequently

Just more than 4-in-10 London Knights fans attend Knights games frequently (42%) and a further one quarter attend from time to time (22%), which implies that two thirds of the team's fans are regular attendees (64%). A further 3-in-10 attend rarely (29%), while very few fans used to attend games but not now (4%) or never went to games (3%).

Two thirds of Knights fans think they'll make playoffs

Two thirds of the London Knights fans in our sample think the team will make the playoffs (64%), just a quarter think they won't (23%), and one tenth or so are unsure of the fate of the team (13%). Belief the team is post-season bound is typical of the Gen X fans (45 to 54 - 76%), the wealthiest ($100K to $250K - 77%), renters (77%) and the best educated (post grad - 81%).

Corey Perry is favourite Knight still playing

Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks receives twice as many votes as favourite Knight still playing in the NHL (30%) as his closest rival, Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs (17%) or the third place choice, Brandon Prust of the Montreal Canadiens (11%). No other player cracks double digits on this measure, including Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks (9%), Rick Nash of the New York Rangers (6%), the Florida Panthers' Dave Bolland (5%) or Sam Gagner of the Arizona Coyotes or John Tavares of the New York Islanders (4% each).

Sittler and Shanahan tied as favoured all-time Knights

Hall of famer Darryl Sittler and Brendan Shanahan are tied as favourite all-time Knights, with 3-in-10 fans claiming them (30% each). They're followed by Rob Ramage or Dino Cicarelli (5% each) and Brad Marsh or Roger Lemelin (4% each).

One third of NHL fans play hockey

In total, one third of NHL fans in London play hockey (36%), either unorganized street or pond hockey (23%), or in a recreational or beer league (13%). Very few (presumably goalies) are paid to play (1%). Two thirds of London's NHL fans do not play hockey (64%).

4-in-10 London households have kids who play organized hockey

4-in-10 households in the Forest City have a child who plays or played organized hockey (40%), about a quarter being boys (23%) and just fewer girls (17%). A few households have both (1%).

Just one quarter play unorganized pond or street hockey

In a surprising finding, fewer children of London households play unorganized pond or street hockey (26%) than play organized league hockey (40%). In three quarters of households, no child plays shinny in the street or on a pond (74%).

Teamwork seen to be the greatest value hockey has to teach

Fully one half of London adults believe teamwork is the most important value imparted to youth by hockey (49%), followed by physical well-being (16%) or something not listed (15%). Following these are strategic thinking and perseverance (6% each) and leadership (4%). Few mention self reliance (3%) and creativity (1%).

6-in-10 watched 2010 Olympic Gold Medal game

Six-in-ten London adults (60%) watched Sidney Crosby take the pass from Jarome Iginla in overtime and slip the puck behind Ryan Miller for the Gold Medal in 2010, and this is equal to about 180,000 Londoners.

Three quarters of Londoners think hockey is important to Canada's social fabric

Three quarters of London adults (77%) say hockey is important to Canada's social and cultural fabric, including one third who say it is "extremely important" (32%), one fifth claiming it to be "very important" (21%) and one quarter saying it is "important" (24%). While one tenth think Hockey is not that important (12%) fewer think it not at all important (8%).


"It is clear from these findings that hockey is knit as tightly into London's social fabric as anywhere in Canada, and the fact that six-in-ten adults, fans or not, watched a single game, just proves this," said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at lbozinoff@forumresearch.com or at (416) 960-9603.