Minnesota may call itself the State of Hockey, but when it comes to the best hockey town,a recent study says ‘Hockeytown' still reigns supreme.
According to WalletHub's 17-metric study, Detroit is the best city to live in for “hockey enthusiasts." The metrics include number of teams, performance, Stanley Cups, division titles, fan engagement, popularity and attendance, but it wasn’t limited to the NHL. But before you go thinking this was a ranking of NHL towns, consider that the study also included NCAA Div. I programs to help find which hockey cities were really the best. So while it was the Red Wings’ success and fan engagement that helped put Detroit atop the 72-city list, the lack of NCAA action in the city ended up hurting the city’s margin of victory. Yes, the University of Michigan and Michigan State are nearby, but they’re not technically in Detroit. Thus, they were given their own ranking. Because of this,
WalletHub’s study only saw Detroit narrowly defeat Boston for the title by less than three-quarters of a point. That’s because Boston has great local college programs that offer fans with another way to watch the game.
Boston was closely trailed by Pittsburgh, which finished in third place. After Pittsburgh came New York, Chicago to round out the top five. And while, as mentioned, the NHL wasn’t the only hockey taken into consideration, it was weighted heavily enough that the study saw the 22 NHL cities fill out the top 22 of the list. Glendale, Ariz., home of the Coyotes, was ranked 22nd, but only barely behind Columbus.
As far as best college cities went, Ann Arbor, Mich., home of the University of Michigan, finished in second place, and did so by more than half a point over Grand Forks, N.D., which is where reigning NCAA champion University of North Dakota hails from. But it was Boston, which finished second-overall, that finished atop the college rankings. With Boston University and Northeastern both hailing from the city, it had a serious edge.
Of course, the study is not without its flaws. It doesn’t take into account the AHL, arguably the second-best hockey league in the world, nor does it consider ECHL or SPHL clubs. Though there’s potentially more fans of college hockey — and on-campus fans would certainly play a part in that — it seems an oversight to not include the AHL cities at the very least. If the AHL is taken into consideration, does a city like Providence, R.I., with two NCAA Div. 1 programs and the AHL Bruins, move up the list? Take the study for what you will, but even without another Stanley Cup, Detroit has bragging rights once again as the best hockey city in America.
(Images via WalletHub)