Majority of NHL fans think the Stanley Cup is still the Stanley Cup, despite COVID-19 format: poll 

This year’s Stanley Cup will carry the same honour as seasons past, according to a poll conducted by Maru/BLUE 

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By Jonathan Bradley 

The majority of NHL-watchers and ardent hockey fans believe despite the season being reconfigured because of COVID-19, this year’s Stanley Cup will carry the same honour as seasons past, according to a poll conducted by Maru/BLUE. 

The poll found 56 per cent of NHL-watchers and 57 per cent of fans believe the Stanley Cup in 2020 will have the same distinction as any other year. 

“The Stanley Cup is probably the most revered cup, not only in this country, but in many places across the world,” said John Wright, the executive vice president at Maru/BLUE. “The real question is, is a Stanley Cup a Stanley Cup a Stanley Cup? And right now, the majority are saying it sure is, no matter how you win it and when you win it.” 

Forty-one per cent of NHL watchers and 39 per cent of fans said the Stanley Cup awarded to the winning team this year “will not really be a legitimate Stanley Cup win because of the revamped season and how it has been played out.” 


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The NHL announcedits return to play planon May 26, with 24 teams competing for the Stanley Cup. 

The tournament began last Saturday with the Stanley Cup qualifiers, which includes 16 teams paired in eight best-of-five series games and a round robin among the top four teams in each conference to determine who goes on to the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

The NHL paused the regular season due to concerns about COVID-19 on March 12. Its remaining 189 games were not completed. 

The 24 qualifying teams were determined by points percentage on the day games were suspended. Seven teams did not qualify. 

Arizona Coyotes and the Nashville Predators skates during warm-ups in Game Four of the Western Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 07, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta. Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

Sixty-two per cent of Canadians said they will find time to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs. Forty-seven per cent of Canadians will watch some of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and 15 per cent will view as much as they can. This compares to 38 per cent of Canadians who have no interest in watching hockey. 

Wright said these polling numbers could change if a Canadian team makes it to the Stanley Cup finals. 

Men (21 per cent) will be more likely than women (10 per cent) to watch the entire series. 

People who earn more than $100,000 (20 per cent) and between $50,000 to $99,000 (18 per cent) will be more likely to watch the games than those who are earning less than $50,000 (11 per cent). Wright said he was surprised wealthier people are more likely to watch hockey. 

“I think it has to do with the affordability of watching and participating in the sport,” he said. “It’s become a rich person’s sport. If you want to go to a game, no matter what city you’re in in Canada at least, you have to save up hundreds of dollars.” 

These are some of the findings of a Maru/BLUE public opinion poll conducted among 1,514 randomly selected Canadian adults in English and French who are members of Maru/BLUE‘s online panel on July 29, 2020, and is considered nationally accurate within +/- 3.5 percentage points using a Bayesian Credibility Interval. 

A total of 600 respondents identified themselves as hockey fans and carry a Bayesian Credibility Interval of +/- 4.6 per cent. Those who will follow some or all the NHL series (n=947) carry a Bayesian Credibility Interval of +/- 3.6 per cent.