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Who really is Canada’s Team?

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With the Jets* and the Leafs in the playoffs it’s time to break out the stupidest debate that comes up every goddamn playoff season

Winnipeg Jets v Toronto Maple Leafs

God I hate this time of year. I mean, I love the playoffs and the Maple Leafs, but it’s also the time of year that TV and radio producers run out of ideas so they need to figure out which NHL team is ‘Canada’s team’ - as in the one team the country should rally around and cheer for, like the NHL is some kind of place to put all of your misguided nationalism.

It’s one of the stupidest ‘debates’ out there and exists solely to....I’m not sure why it exists. So, in an effort to quash this nonsense early, I’m here to help you find out who exactly is the most Canadian team in the NHL playoffs this year.

I’ve done this a few seasons in the past, and not gotten the results I’ve always wanted, but it’s fine. At least it was done using science and not nonsense.

The items we’re counting towards a team Canadian-ness are:

  • Roster Breakdown - 1 point per Canadian as listed on the NHL.com roster
  • Starting Goaltender - Determined by # of games played in the regular season
  • Leadership - 2 points for a Canadian captain, 1 per alternate
  • General Manager/Head Coach - 2 points for the GM, one for the coach
  • Ownership - 1 point total, based on majority owner.
  • Proximity to Canada - Starting at the border we have 5 points. 1 point is lost for every 500 kilometers from the border the team is based.

These items are what make a team truly Canadian.

So, here it is, the decision to find out who is 2018’s answer to ‘Canada’s Team’.

New Jersey Devils — Points Total, 9.4

Roster breakdown: 15 Americans, 3 Canadians. 2 Swedes, 2 Swiss, 1 Czech, 1 Austrian, 1 Finn - 12% Canadian
Starting Goaltender: Corey Schneider, American
Leadership: Captain: Andy Greene, American - Alternates: Kyle Palmieri, American and Marcus Johansson, Swedish and Taylor Hall & Travis Zajac, Canadian
General Manager: Ray Shero of Saint Paul, Minnesota
Head Coach: John Hynes of Warwick, Rhode Island
Ownership: Thomas Cigarran, American
Proximity to Canada: 600 kilometers to the border at Fort Erie, Ontario

The Devils are the least Canadian team here. Only three on the roster none in the front office, and not even being within six hours of the border can help them.


Columbus Blue Jackets — Points Total, 14.7

Roster breakdown: 10 Americans, 9 Canadians, 3 Finns, 2 Russians, 1 Czech, 1 Austrian, 1 Dane, 1 Swiss, 1 Swede - 31% Canadian
Starting Goaltender: Sergei Bobrovsky, Russian
Leadership: Captain: Nick Foligno, American - Alternates: Boone Jenner, Canadian and Jack Johnson, American
General Manager: Jarmo Kekäläinen of Tampere, Finland
Head Coach: John Tortorella of Boston, Massachusetts
Ownership: John P. McConnell, American
Proximity to Canada: 300 Kilometers to the border at Windsor, Ontario

So close you can taste the syrup, and they chose to only have one third of the roster made in the great white north. As well, none in the front office and putting most of the letters on Yanks keeps them at the bottom with the Devils.


Washington Capitals — Points Total, 15.4

Roster breakdown: 7 Canadians, 5 Americans, 3 Russians, 3 Czechs, 2 Swedes, 1 Austrian, 1 Dane, 1 German - 30.4% Canadian
Starting Goaltender: Braden Holtby, Canadian
Leadership: Captain: Alex Ovechkin, Russian - Alternates: Nicklas Backstrom, Swedish and Brooks Orpik, American
General Manager: Brian MacLellan of Guelph, Ontario
Head Coach: Barry Trotz of Dauphin, Manitoba
Ownership: Ted Leonsis, American
Proximity to Canada: 600 kilometers to the border at Fort Erie, Ontario

Even though they put a couple canucks in the front office, keeping them out of leadership positions, and having less than 10 on the roster hurts for a southern team.


Minnesota Wild — Points Total, 15.5

Roster breakdown: 12 Americans, 7 Canadians, 3 Swedes, 2 Finns, 1 Swiss - 28% Canadian
Starting Goaltender: Devan Dubnyk, Canadian
Leadership: Captain: Mikko Koivu, Finnish - Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, American
General Manager: Chuck Fletcher of Montreal, Quebec
Head Coach: Bruce Boudreau of Toronto, Ontario
Ownership: Craig Leipold, American
Proximity to Canada: 500 kilometers to the border at Fort Frances, Ontario

I usually call Minnesota ‘basically Canada’ but not when it comes to hockey. only SEVEN Canadians on the roster? This is offensive. The only things keeping them from being the least Canadian team is the front office and distance. Just sad.


Nashville Predators — Points Total, 16.1

Roster breakdown: 8 Canadians, 5 Americans, 4 Swedes, 4 Finns, 3 Swiss, 1 Russian - 28.6% Canadian
Starting Goaltender: Pekka Rinne, Finnish
Leadership: Captain: Roman Josi, Swiss - Mattias Ekholm and Filip Forsberg, Swedish and Ryan Ellis and Ryan Johansen, Canadian.
General Manager: David Polie of Toronto, Ontario
Head Coach: Peter Laviolette of Franklin, Massachusetts
Ownership: Thomas Cigarran, American
Proximity to Canada: 900 kilometers to the border at Windsor, Ontario

The Preds aren’t doing any better here. One more Canadian and being smart and giving one an A gets them slightly above the Wild, but not by much.


Boston Bruins — Points Total, 16.6

Roster breakdown: 13 Americans, 8 Canadians, 2 Czechs, 1 Slovak, 1 Finn, 1 Kazakh - 30.8% Canadian
Starting Goaltender: Tuuka Rask, Finnish
Leadership: Captain: Zdeno Chara, Slovakian - Alternates: Patrice Bergeron, Canadian and David Krejci, Czech
General Manager: Don Sweeny of St. Stephen, New Brunswick
Head Coach: Bruce Cassidy of Ottawa, Ontario
Ownership: Jeremy Jacobs, American
Proximity to Canada: 400 kilometers to the border at Saint-Armand, Quebec

Ugh, gross, could you imagine having the cheer for the Bruins?


Los Angeles KingsPoints Total, 17

Roster breakdown: 12 Americans, 11 Canadians, 2 Swedes, 1 Slovenian, 1 German - 40.8% Canadian
Starting Goaltender: Jonathan Quick, American
Leadership: Captain: Anze Kopitar, Slovenian - Alternates: Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter - Canadians.
General Manager: Rob Blake of Simcoe, Ontario
Head Coach: John Stevens of Campbelton, New Brunswick
Ownership: Philip Anschutz and Edward Roski, American
Proximity to Canada: 2,000 kilometers to the border at Abbotsford, BC

Another team without Canadians being the dominant nationality. No wonder you’ve gone from league darling to also-ran.


Anaheim Ducks — Points Total, 19

Roster breakdown: 14 Canadians, 7 Americans, 4 Swedes, 1 Czech, 1 German - 51.9% Canadian
Starting Goaltender: John Gibson, American
Leadership: Captain: Ryan Getzlaf, Canadian - Alternates: Corey Perry, Canadian and Ryan Kesler, American
General Manager: Bob Murray of Kingston, Ontario
Head Coach: Randy Carlyle of Sudbury, Ontario
Ownership: Henry Samueli, American
Proximity to Canada: 2,000 kilomters to the border at Abbotsford, BC

Finally, someone with a majority of canucks but you’re too far Ducks, sorry.


Tampa Bay Lightning — Points Total, 19

Roster breakdown: 13 Canadians, 5 Americans, 3 Russians, 2 Czechs, 2 Swedes, 1 Slovak - 50% Canadian
Starting Goaltender: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Russian
Leadership: Captain: Steve Stamkos, Canadian - Alternates: Ondrej Palat, Czech and Ryan Callahan, American
General Manager: Steve Yzerman of Cranbrook, British Columbia
Head Coach: Jon Cooper of Prince George, British Columbia
Ownership: Jeff Vinik, American
Proximity to Canada: 2,000 kilometers to the border at Fort Erie, Ontario

The Lightning have almost everything you would want in a Canadian team. If I counted the amount of snowbirds taking over Florida each hockey season they may have won, but vacations don’t mean residents.


Colorado Avalanche — Points Total, 19.8

Roster breakdown: 12 Canadians, 7 Americans, 4 Russians, 4 Swedes, 1 Swiss, 1 Finn - 41.4% Canadian
Starting Goaltender: Semyon Varlamov, Russian
Leadership: Captain: Gabriel Landeskog, Swedish - Alternates: Erik Johnson, American and Nathan MacKinnon, Canadian
General Manager: Joe Sakic of Burnaby, British Columbia
Head Coach: Jared Bednar of Yorkton, Saskatchewan
Ownership: Ann Kroenke, American
Proximity to Canada: 1,200 kilometers to the border at Regway, Saskatchewan

The team that barely squeaked into the playoffs represents the country well but we need someone who will last longer and it’s red and white not maroon and white.


Pittsburgh Penguins — Points Total, 20.1

Roster breakdown: 9 Canadians, 9 Americans, 2 Swedes, 1 German, 1 Russian, 1 Czech, 1 Finn - 37.5% Canadian
Starting Goaltender: Matt Murray, Canadian
Leadership: Captain: Sidney Crosby, Canadian - Alternates: Evgeni Malkin, Russian and Kris Letang, Canadian
General Manager: Jim Rutherford of Beeton, Ontario
Head Coach: Mike Sullivan of Marshfield, Massachusetts
Ownership: Ron Burkle, American and Mario Lemieux, Canadian
Proximity to Canada: 400 kilometers to the border at Fort Erie, Ontario

The Penguins have it all: Nice and close, a canuck in charge of the coaching and the players, but the roster isn’t as Canadian as I’d like. Under 40%. So close you guys, so close.


San Jose Sharks — Points Total, 21

Roster breakdown: 13 Canadians, 6 Americans, 3 Swedes, 2 Danes, 1 Finn, 1 Czech, 1 Swiss - 48.1% Canadian
Starting Goaltender: Martin Jones, Canadian
Leadership: Captain: Joe Pavelski, American - Alternates: Joe Thornton and Logan Couture, Canadians.
General Manager: Doug Wilson of Ottawa, Ontario
Head Coach: Pete DeBoer of Dunnville, Ontario
Ownership: Hasso Plattner, German
Proximity to Canada: 1,500 kilometers to the border at Abbotsford, BC

Oh no a Californian team? Thankfully the distance and American captain pushed them down some. Could you imagine the type of people who root for ‘Canada’s team’ being told it’s a non-traditional market?


Winnipeg Jets* — Points Total, 21

Roster breakdown: 11 Canadians, 11 Americans, 2 Finns, 1 Austrian, 1 Dane, 1 Swede, 1 Russian - 39.3% Canadian
Starting Goaltender: Connor Hellebyuck, American
Leadership: Blake Wheeler, American - Dustin Byfuglien, Amercian and Mark Schieffle, Canadian
General Manager: Kevin Cheveldayoff of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Head Coach: Paul Maurice of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Ownership: Mark Chipman, Canadian
Proximity to Canada: In Canada, sadly

A Canadian based team with under 40% Canadians on the roster and an American captain AND starting goalie? You disgust me Winnipeg.


Toronto Maple Leafs — Points Total, 22

Roster breakdown: 13 Canadians, 5 Americans, 2 Czechs, 1 Swede, 1 Finn, 1 Estonian, 1 Dane - 51.2% Canadian
Starting Goaltender: Frederik Andersen, Danish
Leadership: Captain: None - Alternates: Morgan Rielly and Tyler Bozak, Canadian and Leo Komarov, Finnestonian
General Manager: Lou Lamoriello of Johnston, Rhode Island
Head Coach: Mike Babcock of Manitouwadge, Ontario
Ownership: Larry Tanenbaum, Canadian and only non corporate owner.
Proximity to Canada: The capital of Canada in all but name.

Woah what the hell? The Toronto Maple Leafs are ‘Canada’s Team’. It’s or name, logo, everything. This is some affront to the citizens of Canada. We need to get Freddie some citizenship, Kyle Dubas into the GM role and slap that C on Rielly or Marleau next year because we can’t see the Leafs be Canada’s #3 team next season.


Philadelphia Flyers — Points Total, 23.4

Roster breakdown: 13 Canadians, 3 Americans, 3 Swedes, 2 Finns, 2 Czechs, 1 Russian - 52% Canadian
Starting Goaltender: Brian Elliott, Canadian
Leadership: Captain: Claude Giroux, Canadian - Alternates: Valtteri Filppula, Finnish and Wayne Simmonds & Andy MacDonald, Canadians
General Manager: Ron Hextal of Brandon, Manitoba
Head Coach: Dave Hakstol of Drayton Valley, Alberta
Ownership: Brian L. Roberts, American
Proximity to Canada: 600 kilometers to the border at Fort Erie, Ontario

The Flyers are trying to be a successful hockey team and are doing everything they possibly can to succeed by naming Canadians to every prominent role. Close to the border, a majority of Canadians, only one non-canuck in any kind of leadership role, how are they not number one?


Vegas Golden Knights — Points Total, 25.4

Roster breakdown: 16 Canadians, 4 Americans, 2 Swedes, 1 Czech, 1 Slovak, 1 Swiss, 1 Finn, 1 French - 61.5% Canadian roster
Starting Goaltender: Marc-Andre Fluery, Canadian
Leadership: Captain: None, Alternates: Deryk Engelland, James Neal, David Perron, Reilly Smith - Canadians & Luca Sbisa, Swiss.
General Manager: George McPhee, from Guelph, Ontario.
Head Coach: Gerard Gallant, from Summerside, PEI.
Ownership: Bill Foley, from Austin, Texas and the Maloof Family of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Proximity to Canada: 1,800 kilometers to the border at Roosville, BC.

OHHHHHHHHHH DAMN. Ladies and Gentlemen, children of all ages, Canadians having strokes right now. You’re official team to cheer for as Canadians is the one year old, expansion to the desert, team in a place where no one thought hockey would succeed, Vegas Golden Knights!

SIXTEEN Canadians on the roster. A Canadian starting goalie. Canadian coach. Canadian GM. FOUR Canadians on the leadership team. We couldn’t make them more Canadian if we pelted them with timbits and dropped the team into the Thunder Bay.


So there you are. Using science I have proven that if you’re the type of person to cheer for a ‘Canadian’ team in the NHL playoffs, that team is the record setting, Cinderella story, Vegas Golden Knights. They may not fit into the marketing version of Canada that TV tells you about, but rooting for the Golden Knights is on par with using a Brazilian coffee company as a source of national pride.

I’m so happy right now.