For the first time in recorded history, a so-called study claims there are nine American cities that are better hockey towns than any city in the State of Hockey.
A company called "smartasset" created a criteria that somehow established a hockey town pecking order like this (only cities with a team in the NHL, East Coast Hockey League, American Hockey League or Division 1 college hockey were eligible).
- Grand Forks, North Dakota
- Hanover, New Hampshire
- Lewiston, New York
- Glens Falls, New York
- Houghton, Michigan
- Hershey, Pennsylvania
- Fairbanks, Alaska
- Marquette, Michigan
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Duluth, Minnesota
Grand Forks is the home of the University of North Dakota, so seeing them ranked so high is nothing to laugh at. But the rest of this list, Minnesotans will agree, is a bit crazy.
How did they come up with this?
The criteria will help make some sense of it – even if the reasoning behind the criteria is sort of senseless.
It was broken down into two parts: "Quality of Life Score" and "Fan-Intensity Score."
The Quality of Life Score is determined by looking at some crime and employment statistics.
Fan-Intensity Scores were established by looking at the average attendance for a game, based on the town's population, and some Google search traffic numbers.
The example for the attendance part of the equation is that Grand Forks has an attendance rate of 20 percent because, of the 53,000 people in Grand Forks, an average of 10,000 people attend UND games.
This assumes all people at a game are from the town (which is unlikely). And gives a serious disadvantage to a town the larger its population is.
Anyway, Duluth was the top-rated Minnesota city, followed by Bemidji (18th), St. Paul (20th), Mankato (21st) and St. Cloud (23rd).
For a friendlier-to-Minnesota list of awesome hockey towns, check out this Bleacher Report list from 2012. Faribault, Duluth and Minneapolis-St. Paul made the cut, with one of them in the top five.