Which teams have the best NHL fans? This debate comes up occasionally and usually ends with fans choosing their team over all the rest. Every fan would like to believe their team has the most NHL fans in stands around the league and the loudest crowd, but only a handful of fanbases have actually proved it throughout the franchise’s history.
Top 10 best NHL fans
The gap between the best and worst NHL fans is wide. However, there is not much separating the top fanbases in the league.
The teams with the best supporters are the ones with the most loyal and loudest NHL fans. Whether the team is bad or good, the NHL arenas of the best fanbases are packed. Even if the team has not won a Stanley Cup in a long time (or ever), the fans still need to show up if they want to be considered one of the best.
It may not come as a surprise to see many of the oldest franchises in league history on this list. Here are the top 10 NHL fans ranked.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have one of the largest fanbases in the league. They have the largest following on Instagram of any NHL team with 2.7 million followers. The team also has 1.8 million Twitter followers.
Pittsburgh currently plays in the PPG Paints Arena, a place they have called home since 2010. With a capacity of just over 18,000, the Penguins have consistently had attendance numbers higher than the league average.
The team has benefited from being among the league’s best for a long time, which includes three Stanley Cups in the last 15 years. However, fans have proven to stay loyal to the team when they have gone through some bad seasons in the past.
Edmonton Oilers fans have certainly been through it all, from cheering on the greatest player in NHL history, then watching the team select first overall three straight seasons, to now watching the league’s current best player on their team.
Although the Oilers’ old arena, Northlands Coliseum (also known as Rexall Place), contained only 16,839 seats, it was consistently full during the early 2010s when the team was not good. Now Edmonton plays at the 18,347-seat Rogers Place.
The Oilers currently have the ninth most Instagram followers with 814,000. They are also in the upper half of NHL teams in both the number of Twitter followers and TikTok followers they have.
Boston is known for having some passionate sports fans for all their local teams, and the Bruins are no exception.
The seating capacity for their arena, TD Garden, is 17,850. During the 2022-23 season, the Bruins had above 100% capacity, averaging more than 18,300 spectators a game.
Boston has one of the largest social media followings of any team. They have 1.6 million followers on Instagram, which is the third most of any team. The Bruins also have a big following on Facebook with over two million Facebook fans.
The Calgary Flames have the smaller fanbase of the two teams in Alberta, but that does not mean that they are less passionate about their team.
Calgary currently plays in the Scotiabank Saddledome, which was first opened in 1983. The arena features over 19,000 seats and was consistently sold out from 2005-2013. Their attendance numbers have dipped slightly this past season, but the team has averaged more than 18,500 fans per game for the majority of the last decade.
Although they are a regularly forgotten-about fanbase, Flames fans are some of the nicest people. They also are good at avoiding arguments with other teams, and instead, focus on supporting their own.
6. Red Wings
With the benefit of being one of the Original Six teams in the NHL, the Detroit Red Wings have always had a strong fanbase.
The Red Wings have some of the most loyal NHL fans, especially in the last seven years while the team has been hovering around the bottom of the standings. This past season, Detroit averaged the fourth-highest attendance despite the team finishing 12th in the Eastern Conference.
The team has a pretty big following on all their social media platforms but has had the most success and fan support on their Facebook and TikTok accounts. Detroit has the fourth most followers among NHL teams for both of those platforms.
Another Original Six team, the Rangers get the benefit of the massive New York market for their large fanbase.
The Rangers play in one of the most well-known arenas in North America. They have called Madison Square Garden home since 1968. The arena has a seating capacity of just over 18,000 for hockey games and has been regularly full throughout the years.
New York has the fifth most Instagram followers with 1.3 million. They also have the seventh most Twitter followers and sixth most Facebook fans in the league.
The Winnipeg Jets have one of the loudest NHL fanbases in the league.
One of the best places to watch a playoff game is the Canada Life Centre (formerly Bell MTS Place). Although it is the smallest permanent NHL arena currently, the tight environment makes for an electric atmosphere. The Winnipeg Jets whiteout games are something the fans really get into during the postseason.
The Jets will never have the biggest social media following or the highest attendance numbers, but their fans will proudly, and loudly, support their team.
The Chicago Blackhawks have arguably the largest fanbase and some of the best NHL fans.
Chicago plays in one of the biggest arenas in the league, the United Center. The team has had an average attendance of over 100% capacity for the majority of the last 15 years. Their fans are some of the most loyal in the NHL.
There is no debate that the Blackhawks are the most popular team on social media. They currently have the most Twitter followers, the most Facebook fans, and the most TikTok followers of any team in the league.
There is not much separating the top two fanbases on this list, as the Montreal Canadiens have a passionate following in a city that loves its hockey team.
The Canadiens play in the Bell Centre, which is the largest arena in the NHL. Despite being the biggest, it is consistently packed with fans every single game. Last season, the team ranked number one in attendance with an average of more than 21,000 spectators per game.
Montreal also has a big social media following. The team has over 1.6 million followers on Twitter and Facebook and ranks in the top six among NHL teams on TikTok.
1. Maple Leafs
The team with the best NHL fans is the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Throughout all the bad seasons and the heartbreaking playoff losses, the fans consistently remain hopeful of their teams’ chances each and every year. The Maple Leafs play at Scotiabank Arena, which has a seating capacity of 18,800 for hockey games. Toronto has averaged well over 100% capacity for every season since 1999 except two.
As far as social media following, the Maple Leafs rank in the top four for Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok followers among NHL teams. Although most hockey fans dislike the Toronto fanbase, they cannot deny that it is one of the most passionate, loyal, and dedicated fanbases in the league.