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76% of NHL fans believe hockey season will be lost

Three-quarters of hockey fans think the current NHL season will be lost entirely due to the lockout, according to a new poll by Abacus Data.

The Ottawa-based public opinion and marketing research firm, which conducted the survey after talks between players and the league broke down last week, found that six in 10 Canadians believe hockey won’t be played in the NHL this year, while 76 per cent of NHL fans think the season is over.

“Very few fans in Canada have any hope that hockey will be played this season,” Abacus’s chief executive David Coletto said in a release Monday.  “Across the country, fans and non-fans alike think it is unlikely that they will be able to watch any NHL hockey.”

And who could blame them. The league cancelled another 104 games through Dec. 30 on Monday. The latest round of cancellations brought the NHL’s total to 526 regular-season games — or roughly 43 per cent of the schedule.

The Abacus survey, which polled 1,505 Canadians on Friday, also found that NHL fans are disappointed and angry and that their frustration could lead them to stay home when games resume.

When asked how they feel about the lockout, 94 per cent of NHL fans said they were disappointed and 69 per cent said they were angry. Another 63 per cent said they were sad.

“The disappointment and anger that NHL fans have towards the lockout could definitely hurt the league and its team when and if play resumes again,” Coletto said. 

One-third of Canadians surveyed said they would be less likely to attend a game, while 49 per cent of NHL fans said they would be less likely to attend a game.

The financial impact of the lockout on teams could be substantial too with 52 per cent of previous game attendees saying they are less likely to attend.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 per cents, 19 out of 20 times.