Ten years ago if I had said that California is the new hockey state, you probably would have laughed – hard – in my face. I wouldn’t have blames you because then, I would have been wrong.
But during the 2003 Stanley Cup Final, things started to change. The Cinderella Mighty Ducks of Anaheim started hockey’s real rise in California (originally started with Wayne Gretzky playing for the Los Angeles Kings) losing one of the better Final series in Stanley Cup history to the New Jersey Devils.
Since then hockey has truly taken off in the Golden State, and has led to the Stanley Cup becoming a resident of California twice since that series.
The personal accolades have built up, as players who played for California-based teams have won a Hart Trophy, Art Ross, two Rocket Richard, and the Conn Smythe three times. Not to mention the President’s trophy one time for most points in the regular season standings.
But this season has seen a new trend in the state of hockey of California, as not only are all three teams among the best in the league, they are among the leaders at protecting their home ice.
In fact, among all states that play host to more than one team, California is the best at playing at home. The Ducks, Kings and San Jose Sharks have combined to play 55-home games this season and have recorded a total 90-of the 110-potential points in the standings, for an astounding 81% conversion rate.
How does that compare to other teams in the league? And to those with multiple teams in the state?
|Points||Possible Points||Conversion Rate|
|State of California||90||110||81%|
|State of Florida||49||80||61%|
|State of New York||53||124||42%|
|State of Pennsylvania||56||76||73%|
As you can see, it actually hasn’t been close as far as home ice advantage, with Pennsylvania the only state above league average, which isn’t surprising with the two teams who play there.
Not only as it been a dream season thus far for the Ducks, but also for their rivals. I am sure in some ‘purest’ minds, California will never be a true ‘hockey state’ but at least for the time being – it is going to be hard to argue that the road to the Stanley Cup won’t go through ‘Cali’.
Anthony Murphy is the Editor at Pucks of a Feather. You can reach him by email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @AMurphyTFC.