Hockey’s Happiness Index: Happiness is Black & Yellow
Bruins fan? How are you feeling? Pretty good, I think. Considering that, in the past 10 seasons, the Boston Bruins have won countless hockey games and a Stanley Cup championship.
According to Hockey’s Happiness Index, Bruins fans should be the happiest of all hockey fans, or at least ‘very, very happy’.
NHL Fosters Unrealistic Expectations
But the NHL, like many other sports, fosters an unrealistic measuring stick. The mantra that permeates the NHL dressing room – “there is only one Stanley Cup winner, and 30 losers” – also gets into the heads of fans.
It would be a shame if this mentality fogs over the truth because there are indeed many winners among the unfortunate.
Here’s the truth. The Bruins are only one of a few teams in the last 10-seasons that have given their fans premium entertainment value relative to the rest of the NHL. Regular season success. Playoff success. And, of course, a Stanley Cup parade.
Bruins Fans at top of Hockey’s Happiness Index
As shown on my Hockey’s Happiness Index (Graph 1 below), Bergeron and company float to the very top. The Y-axis along the left side is playoff wins, and the X-axis is regular season winning percentage.
How did the Bruins reach the top of the Hockey Happiness Index? Since the 2009-10 NHL season, the Bruins have had the most playoff wins (69) of all teams in the NHL – that’s 40 more playoff wins than the average (29) for all NHL teams. During the same period, the Bruins had a .622 regular season points percentage. Only 2 other teams had a higher regular season points percentage – Washington and Pittsburgh.
It’s Not All Pretty
Bruins fans with good, long memories will point to the Montreal Canadiens as major rival nemesis, and for good reason. Even within the 10-year scope of the Hockey Happiness Index, the Habs won a playoff series against the Bruins in 2014. The Bruins also lost to the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs. Both these Canadian teams find themselves well below the ‘very, very happy’ teams but managed to put a feather in their caps along the way.
And let’s not forget 2014-15 & 2015-16, two seasons in a row when the Bostons Bruins failed to qualify for the playoffs altogether. The irony of these blemishes is that they acted like mini forest fires; allowing for rejuvenation – regrouping and retooling for a better product on the ice.
Bright Outlook for Bruins Fans
If past performance wasn’t enough, the Bruins fans have arguably the best outlook for their happiness in the near term compared to fans of other teams in the ‘very, very happy’ quadrant. They are only months removed from the 7th game of the 2018-19 Stanley Cup finals. They have most of their best players locked-in with reasonable contracts and a nice mix of veterans and untapped potential among their young group of players and prospects.
Readjusting the Meaning of ‘Excellence’
So what is the point of all this? I guess it’s about heightened perspective. The standard of excellence is not winning the Stanley Cup every year. Excellence is what the Bruins have provided for their fans the past 10 years, and it includes some lumps. Enjoy the ride. Enjoy the team, the moment, the amazing plays. The Bruins are special. And, the next time a ‘very, very sad’ team and their fans come to town, be sure to get those two points and give a tip of the hat to that fan’s loyalty to a losing team.