With the offseason winding down, I thought it would be a good time to look at the general state of animosity towards all 31 other teams for Flames fans. With the NHL (hopefully) returning to a full 82 game season where you play every other team, I figured we should get a baseline for a level of hatred fans had for each team.
I have broken the rankings down into 8 tiers based on the average responses of readers/fans. Thank you for those who took a few minutes to fill out their answers. Remember that the scale was 1 to 5, with five being most hated. I will include the team’s average score.
Tier 8 - The Buffalo Tier
#31 - Buffalo Sabres - Average Score: 1.49
Even in this ranking, they come in last (or is it first?). 75% of voters had them at a 1/5. Clearly Flames fans don’t feel any animosity towards the club and just want to see them find success after years of ineptitude. Maybe it’s just because we relate to them? Now give us Jack Eichel.
Tier 7 - The “Would Probably Cheer for You in the Playoffs” Tier
#30 - New York Islanders - Average Score: 1.52
While their score is slightly higher than Buffalo, they did the receive the fewest 4/5 and 5/5 votes among all teams. Personally the Islanders are my favourite Eastern team given the culture and work ethic they have built there. A ton of respect for them!
#29 - New Jersey Devils - Average Score: 1.53
Perhaps similar to Buffalo, Flames fans just don’t have any disdain for the Devils because they haven’t found any success since their 2012 Cinderella run to the Cup Finals. They have certainly added some good pieces of late so expect them to rise in these rankings as they rise up the standings.
#28 - Florida Panthers - Average Score: 1.59
Personally my dislike for the Panthers was a bit higher, but that’s because of how Sam Bennett scored at a 123 point pace for them after joining the team. Overall though I think they are going to really good again this year and hope they find continued success to keep growing the game in their area.
#27 - Columbus Blue Jackets - Average Score: 1.68
Even though none of your players seem to like you, we’ll still love you. hugs
#26 - Washington Capitals - Average Score: 1.74
Maybe it’s the Alex Ovechkin effect or that Flames fans sympathized with the Capitals fans for years of playoff disappointment, but I’m a bit surprised to see Washington here on the list. Most of the other recent Cup Champions are further down.
Tier 6 - “We do not like you, but we also do not not like you”
#25 - Nashville Predators - Average Score: 1.83
The Preds look to be the “favourite” of the Western Conference rivals and that doesn’t particularly shock me given that Calgary and Nashville boast a number of similarities between the cities. It also helps that these two teams always seem to have entertaining games when they meet.
#24 - Detroit Red Wings - Average Score: 1.84
The dislike for the Red Wings has likely fallen as the Red Wings have fallen on tough times over the last five years or so, but I will always have a high level of respect for how good the Wings were for a long time and their hardcore fan base.
#23 - Philadelphia Flyers - Average Score: 1.88
A team with a lot of potential that never plays up to it while consistently having goaltending concerns? Sign me up friendo!
#22 - Arizona Coyotes - Average Score: 1.92
I am a bit surprised that the Coyotes didn’t get a bit more disdain from the fans considering they had some heated games with Calgary prior to last season. However with the team moving to the Central Division and embarking on yet another rebuild, I’m not too surprised that Coyotes fall squarely into the “meh” range.
#21 - Pittsburgh Penguins - Average Score: 1.93
It feels like we would dislike the Penguins a lot more strongly if the Flames played in the East, but these teams meet twice a year and haven’t really had any memorable games outside of that 9-1 game in 2018-19. They fall into the middle of the pack and might get some extra love for Sidney Crosby.
#20 - New York Rangers - Average Score: 1.94
I personally gave the Rangers a 4/5 just because of how they used their power of being the Rangers to steal Adam Fox eventually ugh. I like the team itself and their jerseys, but I really wish Adam Fox could have been a Flame.
#19 - St. Louis Blues - Average Score: 1.97
The Blues finally found playoff success in 2019, making them slightly less likeable. They also took Al MacInnis away from the Flames, and if they do the same to Matthew Tkachuk, hoo boy I’m gonna really not like them.
Tier 5 - “Your Team is Boring and/or Annoying”
#18 - Seattle Kraken - Average Score: 2.06
The Kraken are the first Pacific team on the list and will probably only be at this point until they actually start play and form a divisional rivalry with Calgary. They have Mark Giordano so we can’t hate them that much, but it’ll come with time. The picture above is pure pain.
#17 - Carolina Hurricanes - Average Score: 2.08
The biggest reason that I could see animosity between these teams is the still settling outcome of the massive blockbuster trade from summer 2018. I really think we need to set aside our differences and band together to hate on the Rangers and Adam Fox for abandoning us.
#16 - Ottawa Senators - Average Score: 2.14
While there wasn’t one specific reason that the Flames missed the playoffs in 2020-21, the pesky Sens had to be one of the biggest causes. They were a thorn in the side of the Flames all year long as the Flames left ELEVEN points on the table against them and missed by four.
#15 - Minnesota Wild - Average Score: 2.17
We haven’t had the chance to watch the Wild with Kirill Kaprizov and a few other of their young stars, so until that happens they will always be considering the most boring team in hockey. Hopefully he signs so we can look forward to games against Minnesota that aren’t just 2-1.
#14 - Chicago Blackhawks - Average Score: 2.33
Tier 4 - You’ve Eliminated the Flames or Have Jack Edwards
#13 - Boston Bruins - Average Score: 2.50
The average for total voting finished at 2.51 so the Bruins are about to close to the average amount of hate that Flames fans dish out. While I have softened on the Bruins since Iggy’s return game in 2014 and picking up Milan Lucic, I still can’t stand Jack Edwards and I don’t think I’m alone on that.
#12 - Dallas Stars - Average Score: 2.71
I mean, what is there to like about this team. You picked up Corey Perry for one year just to eliminate the Flames in the bubble. Your jerseys are horrendous. Your stupid “Dallas Stars!” goal song is so weird. Not good.
#11 - Colorado Avalanche - Average Score: 2.93
I will never forgive you for ruining the great 2018-19 season and unleashing the great Cale Makar on an unsuspecting NHL by making him demolish his hometown team. Other than that I really don’t mind the Avs. It’s also not fair how good they are. Joe Sakic has done a great job.
#10 - San Jose Sharks - Average Score: 2.97
The Sharks and Flames have had a few good battles over the years, but with San Jose likely entering a long period of rebuilding, they could fall further down this list.
#9 - Montreal Canadiens - Average Score: 2.98
Montreal edging out Calgary for the final North playoff spot this past season added fuel to the fire of a rivalry that featured a pair of Stanley Cup Final meetings in the 80s. Also Habs fans can be a bit much sometimes.
#8 - Winnipeg Jets - Average Score: 3.01
The Flames and Jets are just a solid Western Canadian rivalry which did rise a bit with the qualifying round matchup in the Edmonton bubble last summer. While there isn’t a lot of outright dislike for the Jets, it is still really nice to meet them whenever the teams square off. However the Jets are also a team that Flames fans seem to get more behind when they make a playoff run (especially if it involves sweeping Edmonton).
Tier 3 - We Don’t Like You, There’s No Dought
#7 - Los Angeles Kings - Average Score: 3.18
Most of the dislike of the Kings likely comes from the still running Matthew Tkachuk and Drew Doughty rivalry. This is despite the fact that the Kings haven’t really done much for a few years now as they are firmly in a rebuilding phase. However they have assembled a really strong prospect core that could make the team better very quickly.
#6 - Vegas Golden Knights - Average Score: 3.23
Maybe it’s that they have been a superpower ever since joining the league, hitting heights and dominance the Flames haven’t had in decades. Or maybe it’s just that Calgary can’t win in Vegas no matter what. Either way, we don’t like you.
#5 - Toronto Maple Leafs - Average Score: 3.50
I don’t think there is actually much dislike for the team itself, outside of stealing TJ Brodie that is. It’s likely more directed at the Leafs fans who have a penchant for being a little more than way too much. Also the nonstop Leafs coverage on the major media outlets gets tiresome real fast.
#4 - Tampa Bay Lightning - Average Score: 3.64
It Was In.
That is all.
Tier 2 - Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa Played for You
#3 - Anaheim Ducks - Average Score: 4.16
While the hate may have waned a bit in recent years with the Ducks regressing and the Flames finally ending their Honda Center curse, the rivalry is definitely not dead. It reached it’s peak in 2015 and 2017 when the teams met in the playoffs both years with the Ducks winning both fairly handily. Calgary is 3-3 in their last six visits to Anaheim, three wins being the same total they had in Anaheim between January 1999 and October 2017.
#2 - Vancouver Canucks - Average Score: 4.33
While 2015 was a nice revival of this rivalry, it looks set to take off this year with Canucks likely to be involved in the playoff push with the Flames for the third spot in the Pacific Division. We also have the infamous line brawl of 2013-14 to look back on as well. Just a fantastic rivalry all around and I hope there is more fuel added to the fire this year.
Tier 1 - Edmonton
#1 - Edmonton Oilers - Average Score: 4.94
There were just a handful of people who didn’t put this rivalry at 5/5 and I have sent all of them for further testing about their Flames fan levels. This rivalry was the cream of the crop in 2019-20 and perhaps without fans in the building it dimmed a bit last year, but I expect the energy to be back even more so this season. These two teams should be jockeying for playoff spots all season long and there will certainly be no love lost between the sides.
Now can we PLEASE have a playoff series!?!?