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Volume 24 No. 156

Research and Ratings

Comparing sentiments toward the NHL during and after the lockout shows fans of the Jets are responding with forgiveness and loyalty, but only for their team, according to data from Manitoba-based Prairie Research Associates. Polls were conducted in both December and January with 480 Manitoba residents via telephone. During the final stages of the lockout, sentiments toward the NHL among Winnipeg hockey fans were flavored with bitterness. Compared to a poll conducted in December, Winnipeg hockey fans polled in January were less likely to report being angry, upset or disgusted by the lockout. Still, 31% (down from 41% in December) report that this is how they feel about having no NHL hockey up until mid-January. This anger appears to have shifted to general disappointment (24%, up from 14%) in the NHL and missed hockey.

COMING TO THE GAME? In December, 55% of hockey fans reported that they had planned to attend a Jets home game if it had not been for the lockout. Now, 55% still say they plan to attend a game. In January, 41% of Winnipeg hockey fans said they were less interested in the NHL season because of the lockout, with about one in seven fans strongly agreeing with that sentiment.

BLAME GAME: While Winnipeg hockey fans are also most likely to continue to blame both the owners and the players equally (40% in January and 44% in December), in January, more fans blamed the NHL owners (32%) than in December (22%), and slightly fewer blamed the players (24% in January compared to 29% in December) (Prairie Research Associates).