Which NHL teams have the biggest fan bases? Five teams ice out the competition when it comes to the red-hot loyalty of their fans. While it’s no surprise that many of the most popular NHL teams on the mainstream stage also have the biggest fan numbers, you might be surprised by just how devoted some hockey fans can be. Take a look at where the teams we all know and love rank on the list.
What Is the NHL?
The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional ice hockey league in North America. As of 2022, the NHL is comprised of 32 teams. While 25 of the teams in the NHL are based in the United States, the NHL also features a hearty group of seven Canadian teams. The NHL is considered the best professional ice hockey league on the planet using essentially any measure. It’s also one of the biggest overall professional leagues in the world. More than 20 million fans attend NHL games each year. However, the passion and fury coming from the stands can’t exactly be considered equal at every game. Teams that really bring the energy are fueled by long-standing team rivalries, local pride, and endearing childhood memories. The truest fans don’t settle for cheering on from home every time. Fans from around the world book getaways that connect them with their favorite hockey teams using packages from Major League Sports-Cations. Getting tickets for exclusive experiences involving the biggest sporting events in the world is as easy as booking a package online! Which hockey teams are the best to follow if you want to experience the energy in the stands? Take a look at the five teams with fan bases that really bring the fire to the ice!
The Five Teams with the Biggest Fan Bases
Can you guess the five NHL teams with the biggest fan bases? Fans that stay loyal to these jerseys are known as the fiercest of the fierce in a sport that’s infamous for having some pretty rabid fans. Take a look!
1. Chicago Blackhawks
It’s not really that surprising that the Chicago Blackhawks have amassed the largest fan base in the NHL. After all, this team was part of the NHL’s “Original Six.” Blackhawks fandom dates all the way back to when the team was founded in 1926. The adoration has only grown with each of the team’s six Stanley Cup wins. Just how many people consider themselves part of the Blackhawks kettle? The team’s fan base stands at over 2.7 million! However, it feels like a tight-knit community where players, coaches, and fans all seem to share inside jokes. In fact, the team has one of the most robust social media presences in the league.
2. Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings certainly aren’t in the red when it comes to their fan base numbers. With just over 2 million loyal fans, the Red Wings are flying high. There’s no doubt that the 11 Stanley Cups claimed by this team have something to do with the enthusiasm exuded from the stands at Little Caesars Arena. The Red Wings have actually had more Stanley Cup wins than any other American team even though they fall short of the 24 wins earned by The Canadiens. Founded in 1926, Detroit is one of the NHL’s “Original Six.” It makes sense that the Red Wings come in at second place in a neck-and-neck competition with the Blackhawk fan base. After all, the fan bases of these two teams have been sparring in the stands for nearly as long as there’s been an NHL. The two teams became instant rivals after facing off for the first time in November of 1926. One interesting piece of trivia that any diehard Detroit fan will know is that the Red Wings were actually the Cougars during that very first meetup nearly 100 years ago!
3. Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers glide into third place with a fan base that reaches nearly 1.5 million. Flyers fans are known for their consistent attendance. In fact, this is one team that consistently gets seats at Wells Fargo Center filled to at least 80% to 85% capacity. Of course, Flyers fans never get more riled up than when they’re ruminating on the Flyers-Rangers rivalry. The teams have actually squared off 11 times in the Stanley Cup playoffs. While the Flyers rein with six of the 11 wins, the Rangers still have plenty to brag about. Those steeped in NHL legend know exactly why this rivalry is so fierce. It all dates back to when the Flyers eliminated the Rangers during the 1974 semifinals to mark the first time an expansion team pummeled an “Original Six” team during a playoff series. The Flyers then proceeded to have their first back-to-back Stanley Cup wins.
4. New York Rangers
New York Rangers fans are strong, loyal, and never ready to quit. The team constantly sells out seats at Madison Square Garden. In fact, Rangers fans are notorious for showing up even when the team is flailing. Of course, loyalty to the Rangers is something that cuts deep in some circles in New York for those tied up in the famous Islanders–Rangers rivalry. Known as the Battle of New York, this local rivalry separates Westchester County, Rockland County, Fairfield County, and most of New York’s boroughs from Nassau County, Suffolk County, Brooklyn, parts of Queens, and most of Long Island.
5. Boston Bruins
Things get pretty interesting once you start digging into the Bruins fan base. According to Nielson, Buffalo had the second-highest percentage (48%) of people watching or attending at least one of the home team’s games for the 12-13 season. The team was beaten only by Pittsburgh’s 54% engagement rate. Of course, this was the Crosby era when Pittsburgh went to the Eastern Conference Finals. Bruins history is fully intertwined with NHL history. The Bruins joined the NHL as the first American team in 1924. The team is also famous for having 52 alumni inducted into the Hall of Fame. Bruins fans are known for showing up above all else. In fact, they consistently sell out games at TD Garden.
Final Thoughts on the Biggest NHL Fan Bases
Having a big fan base isn’t just about amassing the biggest number of fans. For these five teams, it’s about harnessing the power and energy of the crowd to deliver what fans live for. If you live for hockey, book the sports vacation of your dreams with Major League Sports-Cations today. We bring you to the best sports destinations and events in the world!