Quantifying Canada’s Hockey Pride with Google Trends

Sure, Lacrosse is Canada’s “official” sport, but when is the last time you wished people would stop complaining about a Lacrosse lockout?

If you answered “never,” then you are certainly in the majority of Canadians. In fact, a quick Google Trends search showed hockey to be searched on average about 10 times more often than Lacrosse—a stat that feels perhaps even a little on the low side.

With the NHL lockout officially over and the season resumed, the Google Canada blog has come up with a few search comparisons that should stroke your patriotic ego. As last year was a regular season, Google Trends compared NHL-related searches over the 2012 and 2013 hockey seasons. While not entirely surprising, search results were sparse, but skyrocketed in early January with news of the season set to resume. The fanfare has since levelled off, and is now virtually indistinguishable from last year’s season searches.

Also of interest is the difference in NHL and NFL searches. With Superbowl 47 fast approaching, and many having invested in following football instead, Canadians were quick to return to their sport. NHL-related queries occur almost twice as often as NFL-related ones in Canada (CFL-related searches occurred roughly once for every 100 NHL-related ones).

Even more interesting, Google Trends does not normalize their data by population, so one would expect Ontario to be the top searching province. Not so: the most NHL-curious Canadians are from the Yukon and Northwest Territories, followed by tiny Prince Edward Island. Likewise, the Northwest Territories and Ontario are the top NFL searching provinces.

What isn’t surprising? Saskatchewan is the top CFL-related searcher. Go Roughriders!