Puck Daddy - NHL

Any list is going to stir up some debate. And what better way to spark some heated debates in the middle of summer than ranking the best fans of the four major professional sports. Forget the other three, we're concerned with the NHL here.

In their list of "America's Best Sports Fans" (remember the "American" part in a little bit), Forbes explained how it came up with its rankings. First, it began with the attendances of team's at both home and on the road. Next, merchandise sales were tallied up and finally, surveys of American (again, remember this) teams done by Turnkey Sports and Entertainment.

After the jump, we'll find out which teams made the final cut.

In finalizing its list, Forbes took the top four teams in each sports after compiling all of its data and ranked those 16 franchises.

Coming in at No. 16, the Chicago Blackhawks.

From Forbes:

One of the "Original Six" members of the NHL, the Blackhawks have always had rabid fans. After winning the Stanley Cup this year--their first in 49 years--expect fan love to become even more intense.

Seems with this offseason, the fans love is being spread throughout North America, depending on where their favorite Blackhawks player has been traded to.

11. Montreal Canadiens

Forbes explains why:

With 22 Stanley Cups, the Canadiens rule the NHL, historically speaking. They are the only team in the “Big Four” professional leagues in the province of Quebec.

Aside from the fact that the Canadiens own 24 Stanley Cups, apparently geography wasn't part of the criteria to make the "America's Best Sports Fans" list.

6. Pittsburgh Penguins

Forbes on the Pens:

The Penguins lead the NHL in merchandise sales, thanks mostly to young stars like Sidney Crosby(notes) and Evgeni Malkin(notes). Having NHL legend Mario Lemieux as an owner helps, too.

[Insert "Must not have included attendance numbers from 2001-2006" comments here, or below.]

3. Detroit Red Wings

Why Forbes ranks Detroit as the NHL's No. 1:

The Red Wings have made the playoffs the last 19 years in a row, the longest current streak in the "Big Four" professional sports leagues. That's a lot of dead octopi.

No doubt that winning breeds a strong, passionate fanbase and that's what they've done in Motown.

Check out the entire list here in slideshow form.

Agree/Disagree with the NHL team's that made the list? What about where they were ranked?

Stick-tap Kukla's Korner for the find

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