Canadians, Hockey Fans Agree on Banning Head Shots

Two thirds of Canadians and three-in-four hockey fans believe the game would be “better off” if this regulation is implemented.  

Vancouver, BC [January 14, 2022] – A significant proportion of Canadians and hockey fans are ready to take a significant step to make the professional game safer, a new Research Co. poll has found.  

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 80% of Canadians—and 89% of self-described “hockey fans”—support banning heads shots in professional hockey.  

“At least four-in-five residents of British Columbia (83%), Ontario (81%), Quebec (also 81%) and Atlantic Canada (80%) are in favour of a head shot ban in professional hockey,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “They are joined by 75% of residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba and 68% of Albertans.”  

When asked about a ban on fighting in professional hockey, Canadians favour the idea by a 2-to-1 margin (60% to 29%). Hockey fans are divided, with 49% opposing this course of action and 46% supporting it.  

The idea of banning fights in professional hockey is particularly popular in Quebec (69%). Majorities in Ontario (59%), British Columbia (57%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (also 57%), Atlantic Canada (55%) and Alberta (51%) are also supportive.  

Two thirds of Canadians (66%) and three-in-four hockey fans (74%) believe hockey would be better off if heads shots are banned from the professional game.  

The numbers are lower for a ban on fighting, with 43% of Canadians and 28% of hockey fans thinking this regulation would be beneficial.  

More than half of Canadians (52%) rate the efforts of the National Hockey League (NHL) in looking after the safety of its players as “very good” or “good”—a proportion that rises to 76% among fans.  

More than a quarter of Canadians (27%) think professional hockey has become a more violent sport over the past five years. Women (29%) and Canadians aged 55 and over (31%) are more likely to believe that the sport is now more violent.  

One-in-five Canadians (20%) say they would encourage their kids to avoid playing hockey as a result of recent violent incidents in the sport. The same proportion (20%) would refrain from buying products from companies that sponsor professional hockey, while one-in-four (25%) would watch fewer hockey games than they currently do.  

Methodology:  Results are based on an online study conducted from December 15 to December 17, 2021, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error – which measures sample variability – is +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Find our data tables here and here, and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

778.929.0490 [e]