NHL players heap praise on Blackhawks franchise in latest survey

Best rink, best fans… what do NHL players REALLY think of the Chicago Blackhawks?

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The National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) released the results of their annual NHLPA Player Poll for the 2017-18 season and surprise, surprise, NHL players still hold a great deal of respect for the Chicago Blackhawks, despite their recent dip in competitiveness.

The Association surveyed over 500 players and asked them dozens of hockey-related questions like “Who’s the fastest skater in the league?” and “Who’s the toughest goalie to score on?” According to the NHLPA, here’s the criteria:

NHL players were surveyed on more than 20 hockey-related questions during their annual NHLPA team meetings, between the preseason and early January 2018. Over 500 players took part in the poll. NHL players weighed in on a variety of questions – covering skills, coaches, officials, arenas, teams and on-ice matters.

While Blackhawks superstars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews did earn some kudos for questions like “Who is the most diffcult player to play against” and “Which player is the best role model”, it was the Blackhawks franchise itself that earned the most praise from NHL players.

When asked, “which is your favorite rink to play in?”, 21.9% of players chose Chicago’s United Center, second only to the Montreal Canadiens’ Bell Center at 24.8%. If you’ve ever been to a game at the United Center, you know why. We’re not going to waste your time explaining the atmosphere in that building during a truly great Blackhawks performance. It has to be experienced first-hand.

Secondly, when asked, “Which team (excluding your own) has the best fans?”, 30.4% of players chose the Blackhawks, more than ANY other franchise. 

Incredible. It’s about time the Blackhawks fanbase got its due. For all the talk about how great fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens or Detroit Red Wings are, they don’t even come CLOSE to Blackhawks fans and that’s coming directly from the players themselves! Tough to argue… but really who are we to argue anyway? Go, Hawks go! 

For the complete survey on the NHLPA's website, be sure to click the link below: