October 13, 2005 14:46 ET

Hockey Fans Cheer Hockey's Return

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 13, 2005) - Results of two new surveys show hockey fans are enthusiastic about the return of the NHL, and like the revamped game the League is putting on the ice. And, hard-core hockey fans are even more enthusiastic than casual fans.

The NHLFA invited all of its 28,000 members across North America, considered "hard core" fans, to participate in their online poll. At the same time, the NHLFA's research partner, Decima Research, conducted a survey among 600 adult Canadians who follow hockey during a regular season - representing the 40% of Canadians who can generally be regarded as "typical fans". The key findings of the Decima study of typical fans were:

- 77% are happy to see the return of hockey, including 25% who
"couldn't be happier".
- 95% intend to watch games at home this season, 49% will do so at a
bar or restaurant. 44% say they will attend a game, including 25%
who will attend more than one game.
- A strong majority (77%) of those familiar with the new CBA think it
will have a favourable impact on the game; only 9% foresee an
unfavourable impact.
- 68% of typical hockey fans say that the new CBA will be good for
the owners while only 36% are of the view that it will benefit NHL
- 79% of fans support the salary cap, while only 15% oppose it.
- 68% support team revenue sharing, with 25% opposed.

The poll showed:

- 68% believe the new collective bargaining agreement is favourable
for fans, while 91 per cent believe the owners are the real
- 81% think the creation of the new Competition Committee is a good
thing for the game.
- Compared to typical fans, hard core fans are more than twice as
likely to attend multiple games this season (59% vs 25% among
typical fans).
- 82% support the terms of the new salary cap, while only 3% oppose

Bruce Anderson, CEO of Decima Research noted, "There's a lot of enthusiasm evident in these numbers. Fans are happy to see the return of the game, and think the new agreement is positive. They seem clearly to be of the view that the owners prevailed in the dispute and that the net result will be better for the game."

Jim Boone of the NHLFA said, "Fans have good reason to cheer today. The new CBA is fan-friendly and the competition committee will ensure the game remains exciting. The only thing missing is fan representation on the committee."

Coming up tomorrow: Decima and the NHLFA will release the full survey results focusing on reactions of fans to the specific rule changes designed to make the game of hockey more entertaining.

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