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  #1  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2013, 2:31 PM
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Sports in Canadian culture

More and more the "Stadiums and Arenas of Canada" thread has become the de facto talk shop for cultural discussions that are only tangentially related to actual stadiums and arenas. Often people will take the time to post pictures and they'll quickly get lost under the weight of other discussions.

So if you want to talk about why Toronto doesn't support its teams or how popular the CFL is out west then this is the thread for you. Clearly there's a lot of interest in these topics.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2013, 2:58 PM
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I'll repost this from that thread. This misconception about Toronto needs to be settled once and for all.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by isaidso View Post
Just look at every hockey team in the city. They're all in steep decline and/or re-locating to other cities that value hockey as part of their culture. Toronto supports the Leafs because it's deemed worthy of them, not because it's hockey. Toronto would rather have no hockey at all if they couldn't be in the NHL.
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Sorry but that's not true at all...

If you think of the hockey teams in Toronto/GTA other than the Leafs, the Marlies have had some of the highest attendance in the AHL the past few years, regularly filling the Ricoh, it has the largest minor hockey association in the world, and has 2 Junior A teams (formerly 3), including Mississauga and Oshawa. Brampton relocated because putting a hockey team in Brampton, in an arena 7km from another team was utterly stupid. Looking a bit further out you also have another AHL team in Hamilton (which still has nothing to do with Toronto), and a number of Junior B teams.

Compare that to the hockey hotbed of Montreal, which has an NHL team, but no AHL team and a grand total of 1 poorly-operating Junior A team, along with a huge list of failed hockey experiments.

The narrative that Toronto isn't a hockey city is overblown at best, and complete bullshit at worst.
Sorry to isaidso for calling you out, you know I'm generally with you on a lot, but this specific one gets repeated by a lot of people and is just wrong.
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  #3  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2013, 3:08 PM
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Originally Posted by The_Architect View Post
I'll repost this from that thread. This misconception about Toronto needs to be settled once and for all.



Sorry to isaidso for calling you out, you know I'm generally with you on a lot, but this specific one gets repeated by a lot of people and is just wrong.
I think I agree with you about hockey in Toronto. There are challenges with turning New Canadians unfamiliar with hockey onto the game, but you have this in every major city in Canada with lots of immigration.

Given the city's demographics and the cost of the sport, hockey's about as healthy as it can be in Toronto.

Now... would Toronto be so pro-hockey and especially pro-Leafs (NHL) if the sport and the NHL was a non-factor in the big US cities of the northeast?

Good question! But one that is impossible to answer.

But sure, many Canadians do tend to overestimate how big time the NHL is across the US, but on the other hand I've also had more than a few spontaneous and fun hockey talks with Americans (generally from the cities people have mentioned here already) once they have found out I was Canadian.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2013, 4:08 PM
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I think I agree with you about hockey in Toronto. There are challenges with turning New Canadians unfamiliar with hockey onto the game, but you have this in every major city in Canada with lots of immigration.

Given the city's demographics and the cost of the sport, hockey's about as healthy as it can be in Toronto.

Now... would Toronto be so pro-hockey and especially pro-Leafs (NHL) if the sport and the NHL was a non-factor in the big US cities of the northeast?

Good question! But one that is impossible to answer.

But sure, many Canadians do tend to overestimate how big time the NHL is across the US, but on the other hand I've also had more than a few spontaneous and fun hockey talks with Americans (generally from the cities people have mentioned here already) once they have found out I was Canadian.
I can understand why Burke wanted to draft Kadri for marketing demographics. I'm glad that Kadri is turning into a good NHL'er too.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2013, 3:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Architect View Post
I'll repost this from that thread. This misconception about Toronto needs to be settled once and for all.



Sorry to isaidso for calling you out, you know I'm generally with you on a lot, but this specific one gets repeated by a lot of people and is just wrong.
It's fine. I respect your opinion, but this is one area we'll likely not see eye to eye on.

From what I've read regarding Brampton and Mississauga, both organizations found it tough sledding. Brampton couldn't make a go of it despite having 550,000 people to draw from and moved to greener pastures in North Bay of all places. Mississauga has 800,000 so their attendance issues are pitiful, imo. It's under 3,000/game. 3,000!

Perhaps we have totally different ideas about what constitutes good support, but neither of these teams were ever close to being well supported. It says a lot when places like Charlottetown can support CHL and Brampton can not. The GTA should be able to support 20 CHL teams each drawing 5,000+.
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  #6  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2013, 4:43 PM
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It's fine. I respect your opinion, but this is one area we'll likely not see eye to eye on.

From what I've read regarding Brampton and Mississauga, both organizations found it tough sledding. Brampton couldn't make a go of it despite having 550,000 people to draw from and moved to greener pastures in North Bay of all places. Mississauga has 800,000 so their attendance issues are pitiful, imo. It's under 3,000/game. 3,000!

Perhaps we have totally different ideas about what constitutes good support, but neither of these teams were ever close to being well supported. It says a lot when places like Charlottetown can support CHL and Brampton can not. The GTA should be able to support 20 CHL teams each drawing 5,000+.
The Brampton franchise was flawed from the beginning. The arena is in a shitty location and has terrible accesibility. Not to mention it's all about demographics. There's a reason Brampton is nicknamed "Bramladesh"... hockey was never going to work there. North Bay had a former Junior team so the fanbase was already there, like moving a team from Atlanta to Winnipeg.

Mississauga has had its days where it was very well attended, it's in a down period.

As for how Charlottetown and the Maritimes can support these teams better... How about because there aren't many other options? The only show in town is the Junior team (or AHL team in St. John's). Toronto has an NHL team, an NBA team, an MLB team, a CFL team, an MLS team, an NLL team, an AHL team, numerous junior teams, etc. Saying Toronto should be able to support 20 Junior teams is ignoring any and all human geography factors other than sheer population. By that logic Montreal should have more than an NHL team, an MLS team and a suburban Junior team. Does that make it a terrible market? How about Vancouver with an NHL team, a CFL team, a failed NBA team and a Junior team? Calgary with an NHL team, a CFL team and one Junior team? I can keep going etc. etc.
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  #7  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2013, 8:02 PM
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New York? You really have to live there for a little while to realize how little hockey matters. They never talk about the Rangers, Islanders or Devils on the sports radio channels. The old joke in NYC is that there are 18,000 hockey fans in Manhattan -- i.e., the ones that are in MSG.
I agree completely. In my travels to NYC it is clear that the local teams that are topics of water-cooler conversation are the Giants and Yankees, followed closely by the Jets, Mets and Knicks. The Rangers and the Nets are in the middle, followed by the teams on the periphery that barely register in the mainstream consciousness like the Islanders, the Devils, Red Bull and St. John's.

Even though it's an original 6 market, hockey is just not a big deal in NYC. In some ways it's a crazy fluke that they even ended up with 3 NHL teams. I know the Islanders exist only because the NHL wanted to keep the WHA out of the then-new Nassau Coliseum in the 70s.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2013, 8:32 PM
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I agree completely. In my travels to NYC it is clear that the local teams that are topics of water-cooler conversation are the Giants and Yankees, followed closely by the Jets, Mets and Knicks. The Rangers and the Nets are in the middle, followed by the teams on the periphery that barely register in the mainstream consciousness like the Islanders, the Devils, Red Bull and St. John's.

Even though it's an original 6 market, hockey is just not a big deal in NYC. In some ways it's a crazy fluke that they even ended up with 3 NHL teams. I know the Islanders exist only because the NHL wanted to keep the WHA out of the then-new Nassau Coliseum in the 70s.
And lets not forget NJ's never-ending financial issues.

Hockey is about as niche and non-mainstream in the US as it gets. At least among 20-somethings, I feel like soccer (especially EPL and MLS) combined are a bit more popular. And that says something.

Toronto is the NHL's most valuable franchise -- valued at about $1 billion; approximately twice the value of the Montreal Canadiens. Toronto has the world's largest and best development league (GTHL). Southern Ontario produces more players than any other province or state. Toronto produces more players than any other city in the world.

Obviously, if you carve out some ethnic enclave, you can point to it and say, HA! No hockey fandom there. But even then, Toronto is a lot like Vancouver in that many South Asians and East Asians, especially of second generation, follow the Leafs avidly. Although many will also follow, for example, the Raptors.

There are dozens of examples of Toronto not adopting something because it is not international enough, or adopting something because it is international. Hockey is not an example of that. Hockey is very domestic. As someone living in the US, hockey is definitely small potatoes here.
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  #9  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2013, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by The_Architect View Post
The Brampton franchise was flawed from the beginning. The arena is in a shitty location and has terrible accesibility. Not to mention it's all about demographics. There's a reason Brampton is nicknamed "Bramladesh"... hockey was never going to work there. North Bay had a former Junior team so the fanbase was already there, like moving a team from Atlanta to Winnipeg.

Mississauga has had its days where it was very well attended, it's in a down period.

As for how Charlottetown and the Maritimes can support these teams better... How about because there aren't many other options? The only show in town is the Junior team (or AHL team in St. John's). Toronto has an NHL team, an NBA team, an MLB team, a CFL team, an MLS team, an NLL team, an AHL team, numerous junior teams, etc. Saying Toronto should be able to support 20 Junior teams is ignoring any and all human geography factors other than sheer population. By that logic Montreal should have more than an NHL team, an MLS team and a suburban Junior team. Does that make it a terrible market? How about Vancouver with an NHL team, a CFL team, a failed NBA team and a Junior team? Calgary with an NHL team, a CFL team and one Junior team? I can keep going etc. etc.
You forgot Vancouver's MLS team. A small point in such a large post but I had to mention it.
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  #10  
Old Posted Sep 20, 2013, 1:38 PM
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You forgot Vancouver's MLS team. A small point in such a large post but I had to mention it.
Right my bad, I forgot Vancouver's MLS team and Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton's NLL teams.
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Old Posted Sep 20, 2013, 6:29 PM
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Originally Posted by The_Architect View Post
The Brampton franchise was flawed from the beginning. The arena is in a shitty location and has terrible accesibility. Not to mention it's all about demographics. There's a reason Brampton is nicknamed "Bramladesh"... hockey was never going to work there. North Bay had a former Junior team so the fanbase was already there, like moving a team from Atlanta to Winnipeg.

Mississauga has had its days where it was very well attended, it's in a down period.

As for how Charlottetown and the Maritimes can support these teams better... How about because there aren't many other options? The only show in town is the Junior team (or AHL team in St. John's). Toronto has an NHL team, an NBA team, an MLB team, a CFL team, an MLS team, an NLL team, an AHL team, numerous junior teams, etc. Saying Toronto should be able to support 20 Junior teams is ignoring any and all human geography factors other than sheer population. By that logic Montreal should have more than an NHL team, an MLS team and a suburban Junior team. Does that make it a terrible market? How about Vancouver with an NHL team, a CFL team, a failed NBA team and a Junior team? Calgary with an NHL team, a CFL team and one Junior team? I can keep going etc. etc.
One can talk about every extenuating circumstance in the book or slice it 1000 different ways, but it doesn't change the fact that the Leafs are the only hockey team that's well supported. And comparing Toronto to other cities doesn't change the reality either. If 100,000 Torontonians attended CHL/NHL each weekend that would constitute good support. The Leafs at 19,000 and Mississauga bringing in 3,000 does not.

All I hear are reasons why attendance is POOR. That doesn't mean it's good, now does it? All you're showcasing is that poor support for sports isn't just a Toronto issue.
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Old Posted Sep 20, 2013, 6:32 PM
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One can talk about every extenuating circumstance in the book or slice it 1000 different ways, but it doesn't change the fact that the Leafs are the only hockey team that's well supported.
I just showed that is incorrect.

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The Leafs at 19,000 and Mississauga bringing in 3,000 does not.
Kinda hard to get more than the capacity of your arena... Did you watch any of the playoffs with thousands of Leafs fans outside the ACC?
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Old Posted Sep 20, 2013, 9:27 PM
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One can talk about every extenuating circumstance in the book or slice it 1000 different ways, but it doesn't change the fact that the Leafs are the only hockey team that's well supported. And comparing Toronto to other cities doesn't change the reality either. If 100,000 Torontonians attended CHL/NHL each weekend that would constitute good support. The Leafs at 19,000 and Mississauga bringing in 3,000 does not.

All I hear are reasons why attendance is POOR. That doesn't mean it's good, now does it? All you're showcasing is that poor support for sports isn't just a Toronto issue.
The Leafs are well supported (best supported hockey franchise in the world). The GTHL is the best development league in the world -- so participation in hockey is very high. It's just that intermediary leagues (like OHL and AHL) are not well supported.

Part of it might be the perception among Torontonians that Toronto is a 'major' city and people will only spend money on the 'big leagues.' Perhaps that also explains why the CFL is not supported in Toronto -- people consider it 'minor league' -- similar to AHL or OHL.

And attendance isn't the only way to determine support for the Leafs -- look at the high ticket prices, the nearly 100% season ticket renewal rate, the lengthy waitlist for prospective season ticket buyers, the massive TV ratings. There's a reason the CBC shows Leafs games in the prime time 7PM EST time slot every Saturday night while ignoring other Canadian teams. It's their crown jewel for TV ratings.

Plus, there's NBA and MLB in Toronto -- something other markets in Canada aren't familiar with / probably don't know of.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2013, 3:25 PM
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I'd also add to The Architect's points on hockey a more general note: it's becoming incredibly tiresome to hear about how immature and beholden to the U.S. the culture of Toronto is. The city's culture is internationalized, yes, but that doesn't make it counterfeit. TIFF, Pride, Caribana, all the food and ethnic fests... what's wrong with this? It's elitism? Hardly.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2013, 3:27 PM
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Sorry, just realized there is a new thread. Moving my post here....

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We know that hardly anyone outside of Canada knows or cares about the CFL, for example, but we haven't collectively realized that the same is more or less true regarding the NHL, with the exception of a handful of US cities including Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Philadelphia, New York, Pittsburgh and Minneapolis.
This is kind of a weird statement. You are saying that the NHL is not relevant in the US, but you just said (and I think you can make an argument for it) that it IS relevant for cities that make up: 4.591+4.292+1.134+5.965+18.897+2.36+3.422 = 50.122 million Americans. That does not include the smaller fan bases in the cities where hockey is not all that relevant (South of the Mason-Dixon line). I think we can all agree that hockey is an iconic Canadian institution, but there is a strong professional hockey fan base in many large US markets, some great support for American League teams in smaller cities, and a growing following for college hockey. CFL is a different story. It is a uniquely Canadian game and has great support here (in most cities). I think we can be just as proud of Canadian Football as we are of our 7 NHL franchises.

Personally, I would like to see the NHL dissolve and there to be a 12 team Canadian Hockey League - Van, Edm, Cal, Sask, Win, Lon, Ham, Tor, Ott, Mtl, Que, Halifax. The Americans can have their own league and there should be a proper world championship where the top clubs from Canada, US, Europe, and Russia play for hockey supremacy.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2013, 3:33 PM
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Originally Posted by O-Town Hockey View Post
Personally, I would like to see the NHL dissolve and there to be a 12 team Canadian Hockey League - Van, Edm, Cal, Sask, Win, Lon, Ham, Tor, Ott, Mtl, Que, Halifax. The Americans can have their own league and there should be a proper world championship where the top clubs from Canada, US, Europe, and Russia play for hockey supremacy.
There have actually been talks about a hockey Champions League tournament.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2013, 3:39 PM
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There have actually been talks about a hockey Champions League tournament.
But think about it. If there was a hockey Champions League tournament (based on league champions), then Canada would have last appeared in it in 1993!

Hopefully they will adopt a different model (similar to what they do for MLS clubs) and have a Canadian pro club championship consisting of the Canadian NHL and AHL clubs.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2013, 3:36 PM
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Personally, I would like to see the NHL dissolve and there to be a 12 team Canadian Hockey League - Van, Edm, Cal, Sask, Win, Lon, Ham, Tor, Ott, Mtl, Que, Halifax. The Americans can have their own league and there should be a proper world championship where the top clubs from Canada, US, Europe, and Russia play for hockey supremacy.
Hear hear!
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2013, 3:39 PM
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Sorry, just realized there is a new thread. Moving my post here....

This is kind of a weird statement. You are saying that the NHL is not relevant in the US, but you just said (and I think you can make an argument for it) that it IS relevant for cities that make up: 4.591+4.292+1.134+5.965+18.897+2.36+3.422 = 50.122 million Americans. That does not include the smaller fan bases in the cities where hockey is not all that relevant (South of the Mason-Dixon line).
What's weird about it? Hockey is a regional sport in the US, concentrated mainly in a handful of markets in the northeastern states and the upper midwest.

Contrast with the NFL where you can probably find legions of Cowboys, Giants and Packers fans in every town and city in the entire United States.
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Old Posted Sep 19, 2013, 3:40 PM
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I'd also add to The Architect's points on hockey a more general note: it's becoming incredibly tiresome to hear about how immature and beholden to the U.S. the culture of Toronto is. The city's culture is internationalized, yes, but that doesn't make it counterfeit. TIFF, Pride, Caribana, all the food and ethnic fests... what's wrong with this? It's elitism? Hardly.
With all due respect, I think Torontonians are big enough boys and girls to take it.

On here a routine meme is that certain provinces - always the same one(s) - are racist, xenophobic, Nazi-like and redneck, and there hasn't been a hiatus for that, has there?
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