What Is The Most Popular Team In The NHL

What Are The Most Popular NHL Teams?

The NHL is, without doubt, the King of all ice hockey leagues in the world, boasting not only the most prestigious championship, most enormous fanbase and reach worldwide, but it also has the most popular ice hockey teams. Currently, the NHL has over 50 million fans worldwide, and each has at least one NHL team they would root for any day and time.

Today, we will look at the NHL franchise with the most fan popularity. We will also cover some factors as to why some teams have more great fanbases than others. 

Most Popular Ice Hockey Teams In The NHL

Most Popular NHL Team

What is the most popular team in the NHL? The teams that lead the popularity campaign in the NHL are none other than the Original Six teams of the NHL. The original six teams have maintained their place as one of the most popular teams, with an unwavering fanbase. 

For all those who do not know about the original six NHL teams, they are the founding team of the modern-day NHL era. They were the only franchise in the league from 1942-1967. During their time before the expansion in 1967, they made history and remained relevant and exist even after their era’s past.

However, of the six teams, one that can hold the title of Most Popular NHL team is the Toronto Maple Leaf. Over the year, the Maple Leafs still stand tall, topping the chart of popularity on multiple occasions. The member of the Original Six is popular in Toronto (the home of the Leafs) and is a significant NHL franchise in many other countries. 

The Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens (other members) also have a persistent fanbase that has been passed down for generations. During the original six eras, adults familiar with NHL teams likely took their children to watch their favourite team. Later, this caused the kids to become fans of the same franchise, increasing popularity.

In addition, when it comes to accolades, the accolades of each of the original six speak for them, with the Canadiens having the most Stanley cup victories (24 Stanley Cups). Also, the Blackhawks have 6 Stanley titles.

The past legacy of each of these teams keeps their fan base standing with their head high, as most of the current teams can’t come close to what has been achieved. Also, these teams have housed many NHL legends who will not be forgotten.

Popular NHL Teams In America

America holds 25 out of the 32 NHL teams. Of all the American-based teams in the NHL, the most popular team in 2022 is the Boston Bruins. 

Why was my pick the bruins? That is because the Bruins stand has a powerhouse American-based team in the United States. They play with all they have, earning them a loyal fanbase ready to stand for their team anytime and anywhere.

The Bruins were also part of the original six teams. They have a high winning success as a  team, numerous star players, epic team/players rivalries and the perfect geography, developing the interest of the game in the young generation. With all these, they are only expected to be the most popular in the United States. 

Popular NHL Teams In Canada

When it comes to Canada, with just five teams, the most popular team will have to go to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Also among the original six, the Maple Leafs are based in Canada’s largest city, Toronto. 

Coming from the heart of Canada, Maple Leafs’ fans are the most loyal. Even though the franchise has not won a Stanley cup in years, they still hold up to their love for their home team

NHL games in the Scotiabank arena are always filled with fans who chant at the top of their voice for the Leafs. Even when matches are played outside of Toronto, the fan base ensures they are well-represented. 

However, the Leafs are not just popular in Toronto; they are also popular in several countries. Their fan base stretches from Canada to part of the United States, Germany and Australia. 

What Influences The Popularity Of NHL Teams 

What Influences Popularity Of NHL Teams

The popularity of an NHL team is different every season. In some seasons, a team can be among the top five most popular teams and drop to the top 20 the following season. 

Some factors include the legacy of such a team, history of wins, performance in a current season and the team’s base population.

Legacy And History

A team’s legacy and history significantly influence the franchise’s popularity. This is evident with the original six teams, such as the Toronto Maple Leaf and Montreal Canadiens. These teams were the big dogs back in the day and shared the entire fan base of the game.

The Canadiens were the dominators, winning most of the Stanley Cup titles to be the franchise with the most Stanley trophies. The feats they accomplished during that period still stand with them today, which is why they still have such a robust fanbase.

Even though it has been 20 years since they made a Stanley comeback, their legacy has been carried on by fans who have loved the franchise since their glory days. Some fandom love has also been passed from parents to children who experienced their parent’s love for a team.

An instance was obvious with Sidney Crosby, who hoped to play for the Montreal Canadiens because his father was drafted into their roster and because he grew up watching the franchise. He made this known before the Penguins drafted him.

However, the Maple Leafs still possess the most loyal fans who repeatedly ensure that the Scotiabank arena is at its max capacity during every game. They repeatedly come out in their numbers chanting, cheering, and selling out the merchandise of their home team, even though it has been years since they won a Stanley. This is why they are the most popular team in Canada.

Team Success And Star Players

Nobody loves an unsuccessful team. A team continually missing the playoffs and coming out every season will likely lose its fanbase. The more success a team has in its matches, the more it is likely to grow its fanbase. The more its fans, the more its popularity.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are a good case study because they have progressed from failing to qualify for the playoffs for four consecutive years to becoming among America’s top NHL teams. Although it is primarily due to their star player (Sidney Crosby), the team has recorded higher wins and won 3 Stanley cups over the years.

During the back-to-back Stanley cup trophies bagged by the Penguins, the NHL franchise was the most popular team in the NHL. Currently, they still hold the position of being among the most popular NHL teams in America.

In every sport, from golf to football, basketball, baseball and any other sport, there is always that one-star player that fans are willing to stand by whatever team he is on. Many team fan base support comes from the players they have on their roster. And often, fans of such players eventually become supporters of such teams. 

During the trade of Wayne Gretzky from the Edmonton Oilers to the New York Rangers, a couple of supporters would have switched teams (from the Edmonton Oilers to the Rangers) because a particular “Star Player” is moving.

Epic Rivalries

Epic Rivalries In The NHL

Another thing that drives the popularity of sports teams is rivalries between two-star players in different teams (e.g. Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin) or between two teams. In the case of Sidney and Ovechkin, their rivalry has been hot since their first days in the NHL, and this has also increased the popularity of their teams (you can’t talk about a player without mentioning his team).

With players’ rivalry that big (as the two are considered the best of the modern era), even none fans of both franchise pay to see the two stars play each other. This is because epic rivalries in sports are known to draw attention to the two competitors as fans of the sport compare and contrast their stats. 

The rivalry between NHL teams is a  different scenario, especially when the teams face each other yearly. This occurred between the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins in the 1900s, and it is one of the most intense rivalries in the NHL to date. 

This rivalry also made the teams so famous that each game between the two teams was sold out so that spectators could see who would win. In some rivalries, the winning team gets the spotlight while the losing team is forgotten. However, there are times when both teams remain in the spotlight, no matter the outcome


Logically, a team in a city with a high population is more popular, especially if the ice hockey team is good. It is only natural for people to stand by their city’s home team, and the higher the city’s population, the more its popularity

However, just because a city is big doesn’t mean it will be more popular. The popularity of the sport in that area depends on other factors. Canada and cities in the northern part of the united states have ice-cold conditions perfect for the sport. This makes awareness and access to play the sport more accessible than in warmer climates where ice sparingly forms.

However, when you go south of the United States, you will find out that cities with warmer temperatures give ice hockey less recognition, unlike colder cities in the northern parts. 

Most Searched NHL TEams Across Countries

CountriesMost Searched Team
United StatesTampa Bay Lightning
United KingdomToronto Maple Leafs
CanadaToronto Maple Leafs
GermanyEdmonton Oilers
AustraliaToronto Maple Leafs
RussiaWashington Capitals
JapanBoston Bruins
FranceWashington Capitals
FinlandColumbus Blue Jackets
China Vancouver Canucks
SwitzerlandSeattle Kraken
New York Devils
IndiaFlorida Panthers
NorwayMinnesota Wild
Data obtained from Sporthandle


Now we have come to the end of exploring the most popular NHL  teams in the world, the United States and Canada. I presume you gained one or two things from this article. In conclusion, the National Hockey League has a rich history of passionate fan bases that support their favourite teams with unwavering loyalty.

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