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The Habs are Canada's team: exclusive CityNews poll

A Montreal Canadiens Hockey game inside the Bell Centre. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lee Brown.

It’ll be a crosscheck into the boards for Leafs Nation but a new Forum Research poll conducted exclusively for CityNews has found that when it comes to the NHL, Canada’s team is the Canadiens.

With support coming from every province across the country, Montreal is cheered on by 23 per cent of Canadian hockey fans, almost doubling those who root for the Vancouver Canucks or the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Support for the blue and white was highest in their home province with 33 per cent of Ontarians saying the Leafs were the team they cheered for the most.

The Pittsburgh Penguins, captained by Halifax’s Sidney Crosby, are the highest-ranking American team, as the fifth most-supported team in Canada. Support for the Penguins also ranked highest in the Atlantic provinces.

And there is still no question that hockey is Canada’s game. More than 8-in-10 Canadian adults said they think hockey is important to our cultural and social fabric — including those who aren’t fans of the sport.

“Even among those who claim not to be fans, hockey is seen to be an important cultural signifier in this country, and when two thirds of the adult population watches a single game, you know that’s true,” Forum Research president Dr. Lorne Bozinoff said in a statement. “I don’t know if this could be said for baseball, basketball or NFL football in the US, or cricket or Premier League football in the UK.”

Just over half of Canadians, 53 per cent, said they were NHL fans, with the majority support coming from younger males, the wealthy and those who vote conservative.

Most of those asked considered themselves regular fans with only a tenth classifying themselves as “extreme fans.”

The highest number of NHL fans live in Alberta with 61 per cent.

The Forum poll was conducted between Oct. 3 and 5 and has a margin of error of 2.5 per cent from random sampling of 1,504 Canadians 18 years of age and older.

Forum Research probes Canada's Hockey Fandom

Mobile users click here to see the full poll results.