Buffalo is a hockey town.
For many who live here, some ex-pats and others who have visited, there’s little doubt to the truth in that statement. It isn’t meant to speak to the city’s love for other sports, like football (Go Bills!) or lacrosse (Let’s Go Bandits!), but especially over the past few years, Buffalo has been a hockey hotbed.
That’s why it comes as little surprise that Wallethub named Buffalo the sixth-best city in America for hockey fans, in their recently-released data crunch.
The full list includes 73 American cities, including some with NHL teams and some without. All cities on the list either have an NHL team, a Division-I men’s hockey team, or both.
The criteria compiled various data, including performance, attendance, ticket prices, fan engagement, number of coaches and franchise value. Each metric was weighted, with totals tallied accordingly.
Boston was named the best city in the United States for hockey fans, despite coming in third among NHL cities. Its NCAA ratings, with both Boston University and Northeastern in the city proper, were top in the country.
Detroit, ranked the top NHL city, came in second overall. It earned most of its points from the NHL category, as it came in 56th among NCAA cities.
Pittsburgh, New York, Chicago, Newark and St. Louis all finished ahead of Buffalo.
Buffalo finished ninth among NHL cities, and 37th among NCAA cities, with the Canisius College Golden Griffins making their home at HARBORCENTER.
Buffalo also finished last as the worst-performing NHL team.
NHL fan engagement in Buffalo was ranked highly, with Buffalo finishing fourth overall. But college hockey fan engagement was significantly lower in Buffalo, as the city finished 52nd of 55 in that metric.
Lewiston, NY, home of the Niagara Purple Eagles, came in fifth among NCAA cities and 27th overall. Lewiston finished as the worst-performing NCAA city.
Ithaca, Schenectady and Rochester also made the list, including Rochester at 54th overall and 35th among NCAA cities.
So what can be done to make Buffalo ‘more’ of a hockey town?
Obviously, a better hockey team wouldn’t hurt. Better fan engagement and steady, perhaps lower, ticket prices, would help, too.
Overall, Wallethub’s metrics are just one way of measuring this. The city of Buffalo has seen significant growth hockey-wise in recent years, from the introduction of pro women’s hockey in the Beauts, to the NHL scouting combine, the IIHF World Junior Championships, the NHL Draft and more.
What would you do - or like to see - to help Buffalo continue to grow as a hockey town?