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Edmonton Oilers now ‘Canada’s team’ among Canadians, rival fans: poll

Click to play video: 'Are the Edmonton Oilers ‘Canada’s team’?'
Are the Edmonton Oilers ‘Canada’s team’?
WATCH: It's been three decades since a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup. Now, the Edmonton Oilers are the team with a chance to break the drought. Game one of their series against the Florida Panthers gets underway on Saturday. Most Canadians are fiercely loyal to their favourite teams. But as Eric Sorensen reports, the oilers may get a bandwagon boost in the finals.

Canadians are rallying behind the Edmonton Oilers ahead of the Stanley Cup final, though some more than others, according to a new poll.

The survey, conducted exclusively for Global News by Ipsos, suggests 57 per cent of Canadians back Connor McDavid’s squad as they prepare to face the Florida Panthers.

That’s compared to just nine per cent supporting the Sunshine State team.

What’s more, 68 per cent of those surveyed, including 72 per cent of fans of rival Canadian teams, said they believe Edmonton is now “Canada’s team.”

Click to play video: 'Canucks fans least supportive of Edmonton Oilers across Canada: poll'
Canucks fans least supportive of Edmonton Oilers across Canada: poll

Rival fans are also backing the Oilers to win the cup.

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The poll found 68 per cent of rival teams’ fans are rooting for the Oilers, compared to 13 per cent for the Panthers.

Those numbers were highest among fans for the Winnipeg Jets (78 per cent) and Calgary Flames (74 per cent), followed by the Ottawa Senators (72 per cent) and Toronto Maple Leafs (71 per cent).

Click to play video: 'Edmonton Oilers GM speaks about roller-coaster that led to Stanley Cup final'
Edmonton Oilers GM speaks about roller-coaster that led to Stanley Cup final

Kyle Braid, Ipsos vice-president of public affairs, said there could be a few reasons Canadians want Edmonton to win the cup.

“There’s a positive spin to it that Canadians are just generous and altruistic and they will put aside their normal allegiances to support another Canadian team,” he said.

“But it’s also possible that Canadians are just sick and tired of hearing about a 30-year drought and they will accept anyone winning to get this over with.”

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Click to play video: 'Edmonton police ramp up security ahead of Stanley Cup Finals'
Edmonton police ramp up security ahead of Stanley Cup Finals

Overall, nearly half of Canadians (49 per cent) said they believe Edmonton will actually hoist hockey’s most famous trophy. That’s compared to 18 per cent who believe the Panthers will win.

“Edmonton might be a slight underdog in Vegas, but Canadians are really optimistic,” Braid added. “By a three-to-one margin, Canadians think Edmonton is going to win.”

Bad blood in B.C.?

While the team scored majority support in every province and from fans of every team polled, that support was lower west of the Rockies.

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The Oilers eliminated the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of a close-fought series, and it appears some fans aren’t so quick to forgive.

The poll found 62 per cent of Canucks fans will cheer for the Oilers in the Stanley Cup final, the lowest level of support among Canadian fanbases. Montreal Canadiens fans came in a close second at 64 per cent.

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Edmonton, B.C. morning show hosts settle NHL playoff bet

By contrast, nearly a quarter of Canucks fans (23 per cent) intend to root for the Florida Panthers, while just 16 per cent of Canadiens fans backed the Florida team. The Canucks do have a connection to the Panthers in former fan-favourite goaltender Roberto Luongo, who now works in Florida’s front office.

Canucks fans were also the least likely to call Edmonton “Canada’s team,” with 63 per cent agreeing with the label.

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British Columbians and Quebeckers in general were also the least likely to support the Oilers in their quest for the cup.

Just 46 per cent of Quebec respondents and 50 per cent of those in B.C. said they would cheer for Edmonton.

The poll was conducted online between June 4 and June 5 among 1,001 adult Canadians with data weighted according to census data. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. 

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